Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge (On a Thursday)

1. ASAP typically stands for 'as soon as possible'. What else could it stand for in your life right now? 

All Songs And Performances.  I'm in the middle of three days of auditions for the school musical.


2. Are you the last person to speak up in a group or the first to have an idea? Why do you suppose that is? Is it a good thing or no?

I'm typically the first person to speak up.  I have the gift of administration (we used to call it being bossy), so I'm perfectly fine sharing what I think.  It's typically a good thing, but I think that because I have a loud speaking voice and a passion for what I'm talking about, it sometimes comes across as being pushy, even if I'm not.



3. What do you remember best about being 12? 

When I was 12, I was starting the 8th grade, and I remember being surrounded by a fun group of friends.  That year, the HS boys baseball team played at Busch Stadium and all of my friends and their parents went up and stayed over night and we just had the best time.  Every time I hear the song "Cheap Seats" by Alabama, I think of that weekend.



4. January 18th is National Winnie the Pooh Day. Which character do you relate to the most, and why?

Apparently, I'm Rabbit, which honestly, seems about right.



5. What's an app you use that helps simplify or make life easier for you in some way? 

I'm still learning how to work my iPhone after always having a Droid.  I'm loving having a Podcast app that I can download my favorites straight to.  The Popcast is my favorite and has gotten me through a few long drives recently!



6. San Francisco (CA), San Diego (CA), San Juan (PR) San Antonio (TX) Sanibel (FL)...you have an all expenses paid long weekend to one of these destinations. Which one do you choose and why?

Those are all pretty fabulous!  My immediate response is San Juan, PR because it is so incredibly beautiful and I didn't get to experience near as much of it as I wanted to when I was there years ago.  But I would also love going to San Antonio so that I could see my great aunt who lives there and really can't travel anymore.  I keep saying I'm going to go down there again to see her, but I haven't had the chance.


7. Share with us a song that makes you feel nostalgic? For what? 

Oh, I'm such a music person.  I can connect a song with just about every big moment in my life.  The first one that came to mind was "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack.  I heard that song for the first time in my living room in college because Crys worked for the radio station and had a preview track.  A bunch of us were together toward the end of our first or second year of college and I just remember how happy I was to be listening to that song with all these friends I loved so dearly.  But I could probably pick a dozen or more others in this category.


8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

I haven't done the Hodgepodge in ages but in an effort to blog more, I couldn't resist!  It was always one of my favorite blogs, and even though I'm late to the party this week, I'm going to try to join in more again!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Once Upon A Time

It's been a really long time since I kept this blog up regularly.  I don't really know why I stopped to be honest, other than just not really taking the time.  And that's unfortunate, because I have "met" some of the best people because of this little corner of the internet.  My goal for 2017 is to try to come here a little more often.  I've set some personal goals for this year, so maybe I will come here to discuss them.

Those goals include:

  • Reading two books a month that aren't for school purposes
  • Taking some steps (baby though they may be) to improve my personal health
  • To find ways to put love, peace, and goodness into the world by my actions and my finances (and by any other ways I can contribute)
  • To focus on the joy, even when my default setting is worst-case scenario
These are seemingly small things, but I'm good with that.  I'm old enough to know that I'm not good with sweeping change.  I get really into for a minute and then I get frustrated or bored or whatever and stop trying.  I'm focusing on achieving the small things, because enough small things can turn into something bigger.  I think that part of that may be coming by here and sharing again.  Even if no reads it, I think it's something I'd like to do for myself.  So, I'll see you soon!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Things That Bring Me Joy

Yesterday was a difficult day for a lot of people, me included.  So, I decided that now was as good a time as any to get back on the blog for a list of joyful things.  (I've taken a break from most other forms of social media for my own mental health.)
  • Shellac nail polish is a miracle from heaven.  My nails look awesome and that makes me feel put together and fancy.  (Silly, but totally true.)
  • I get to spend all Friday with my bestie, just hanging out doing what we love (junk shopping).  It's been too long and I miss her terribly.
  • We are just two weeks away from the Gilmore Girls revival.  There may be custom theme wear in my immediate future.
  • My hope is found in Christ Jesus.  God is love, and in Him there is no darkness at all, no matter what anyone else has to say.  I've been mediating on my life verse, Psalm 27, and will continue to do so.  
  • It's almost basketball season.  It's a crazy busy time, but maybe that's for the best.  I never have done well with time on my hands.
  • The band teacher and I are taking 60 kids to the symphony next week for free.  Our kids don't often get experiences like this, so we're excited.  Also, it's our first year to have a band in a while, so that's fun, too.
  • Kindness and love still prevail. This election as been rough on all of us. Last night there were many messages of despair, but today, I have seen so many full of kindness and love, messages that remind all of us that we still have the choice to get up every day and try to fill the world with as much good as possible.  I know I've doubled down on my efforts.
The world feels uncertain and I imagine that isn't going away any time soon.  But just because that's true,  doesn't mean there aren't things that we can do to fight back against those feelings.  What's bringing you joy today?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

559

I don't typically get political on the internet.  But it's nearly 1 AM and I can't sleep because there are just so many troubling thoughts running through my head.  And what's bothering me most isn't really political, it's societal.  I think that, as a white woman, I've been afraid to say anything about what's happening between police and, primarily, the African American community.  I don't want to say the wrong thing, to trivialize anyone's point of view, or because of my own privilege (and it is privilege), make matters worse.  But staying silent feels like saying what's happening is okay, and it's not.

This is a heated topic, and one that I don't really have answers to.  But I just know that we have to do better calling this what it is, and working to somehow change it.  We can't keep seeing the body count rise in the name of law enforcement.  We have to ask ourselves what's at the root of this?  Is it fear? Racism?  Something else?  I have heard all the arguments and I can see where both sides are coming from, I suppose, but can't we all agree this isn't what we want?  Surely this isn't what we want.  I just don't know.

But here's what I do know.  When I see another hashtag trending, I don't just mourn for the families who have lost someone.  I start seeing faces of young black men and women I have taught, and I pray that this isn't their story.  I think of my cousin's husband, who I routinely cut up with at family functions, and of their children, specifically their son, a smart, athletic, handsome teen, and pray it's not their story.  Because somehow, this is what it's come to.  I have begun to pray that someone I love isn't going to die because of a broken taillight.  There have been 559 deaths in the US in 2016 during police interactions.  And if it's not your friend, your student, your relative, it's still someone's.  And I just don't believe it has to be.

I'm turning off comments, because I simply won't argue on this one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

When A Coach Is More Than A Coach

I don't remember the first time I heard the name Pat Summitt.  But I remember when she came to my attention.  My mother, in an effort to get my brother to enjoy reading, subscribed to Sports Illustrated, and one week, there was this woman glaring on the cover.  And I just knew I had to know more about her.  So, I stole the magazine and read the entire article.  (You can read it here.)  And, I kept that magazine in with other special mementos for years afterward.  (I still have it somewhere in the depths of my back room, in fact.)

I don't know what exactly captivated me about Pat Summitt.  I didn't come from a family that followed women's sports.  I certainly never played basketball, routinely losing pick up games to a brother three years my junior.  She did look a lot like my aunt, whose house I spent my formative years traipsing in an out of. But, I'd like to think that there was just something about her I knew was worth paying attention to, worth emulating, even when I was too young to understand how rare the Pat Summits of the world really are.  She set a standard of excellence on the court, in the classroom, and in the world that players weren't just invited to meet, they were expected to.  She simply didn't settle for anything less.  And low and behold, players rose to meet those expectations time and time again.  

I never had the pleasure of meeting Pat Summitt,  I never saw her coach a single game in person.  But when I read the news of her death this morning, I cried in a way I hadn't cried in while.  There is an inherent injustice to early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.  Having lost a beloved childhood teacher to this very disease earlier this year, I've seen first hand how this disease can topple even the strongest of spirits.  Losing a legend at 64 will always leave the world wondering what could have happened if she had just had a few more years pacing the sidelines of the very court Tennessee named after her.  How many more games might she had won?  How many more titles?  

Pat Summitt stepped down after 38 years, having coached 161 players to 1,098 wins (making her the winning-est coach in Division I, man or woman), eight national titles, and proudly boasting a 100% graduation rate (which is almost unheard of in collegiate athletics, sadly).  But, those numbers aren't really her legacy.  I've read articles and stories all day long, praising both her caring hand and her tough discipline.  These stories aren't just those of her players, but of little girls who simply by growing up with her as an example in the world tried to do better.  Her legacy is in people--lives changed, dreams realized, hearts touched.  

And I know that to be true, because my heart was one of them.  I want to be the kind of coach, teacher, and person that Pat Summitt would want me to be.  And rumor has it, that's a pretty high bar.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

We Need To Talk About Fuller House

That's right.  This was serious enough to resurrect the blog, people.  I, in my role as the premiere imaginary entertainment reporter, had to address this situation of national importance.  Fuller House was a big, fat flop.

Let me start by saying that this isn't how I wanted things to go.  My sister and I loved the original, (and love traditional sitcoms, in general).  I watched Full House like everyone in my age group, as part of TGIF when it originally aired.  My sister, being nearly ten years younger, watched it in repeats until she's seen every episode multiple times.  We are not your casual viewers. When we found out about the Netflix revival, we made an unbreakable date to watch. An entire Saturday was blocked off.  Snacks and drinks were acquired.  We were focused.  We were ready.  We lasted two and half episodes before we started watching YouTube videos instead.

The fact that they show was so boring that we gave up really bothered me.  In the name of research, I decided to finish the rest of the episodes on my own today.  And I've arrived at a few thoughts on how this train ran so badly off the tracks.

1) Fuller House is so busy patting itself on the back about how clever it is that it forgets to actually be clever.  The jokes are either cheap or just chances to say catch phrases.  When they aren't doing that, they are throwing shade at the Olsens or just being meta and it might make you smile but it doesn't make you laugh.

2) They forgot to bring the heart.  Full House was a sitcom, but we loved the characters and we felt for them.  We mourned the mother that DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle were robbed of.  We felt their heartbreaks and happiness.  And we just aren't given that in this new show.  DJ has one teary scene about her husband and then it's all about the love triangle.  We are not given a chance to really invest in these characters beyond what we already know about them.  And that was ultimately disappointing.

3) The writing just wasn't good.  My bar for dialogue is not that high.  But it's higher than what was happening here.  It felt like Netflix just got together a few B-string writers and said give us every trope you've got, without context or merit.

4) It relies too much on the history of Full House instead of trying to be its own thing with memories from the old show mixed in.  This is what I think other revival shows, like Girl Meets World (which I happen to love), get right.  Girl Meets World gives us the character drop-ins we want, but within the context of telling a new story.  In the finale, which I liked better than some of the other episodes, Becky and Jesse were renewing their vows, but without their kids or Danny?  This was shoehorned into the plot in such a careless way, it actually makes sense when Jesse and Becky leave without telling anyone.

5) I didn't care who DJ picked in the love triangle. I get that all the true fans were supposed to root for Steve, but he just kind of weirded me out. He was just too much. And I liked Matt, but I feel like we didn't really know him at all.  And trying to go through the whole process in 13 episodes just felt really forced.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.  I wanted to love it, but I just couldn't get there.  If you disagree, I'd love to hear your point of view.  Maybe I just didn't get it.  But it wasn't for lack of trying.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Belonging

I've pretty much always been the worst when it comes to journaling.  I have many a notebook filled with good intentions and a dozen scribbled pages dissolving into many blank ones.  This goes all the way back to my pre-teen years.  I want so badly to be one of those women with beautifully scrawled pages, full of thoughts, feelings, prayers, desires.  Every so often, I even believe that this will be the year I'll do better and I'll try again (there's one on my nightstand as I type).  This blog has really been no different.  The manners-loving part of me feels like I need to apologize for this, probably on monogrammed stationery.  The rest of me is indifferent, as it would appear that this is just kind of who I am.

Despite that, I haven't taken this blog down.  I still come by and read what's going on with other people I've loved and followed over the years.  I keep up with my darling internet friends on other forms of social media. I loved the little community blogging created, and I miss it.  Mostly, I miss writing regularly.  Admittedly, most of what I wrote here was unimportant, even to me.  They were the little moments that make up a life, and while sweet, they were fluff.  Every once in a while though, I'd manage to string some words together that really said something resonant, and those are the moments I miss the most.  

I spend a lot of time alone.  A lot.  Honestly, I don't mind it.  I like my little routines and after I've listened to the voices of teens for 7.5 hours on a school day, silence is golden.  But, I have missed sitting down and filling my little corner of the internet with my brand of weirdness.  I have missed the fine art of rambling until things made sense.  I'm still struggling to find places where I fit in, whether in a church community or life in general (you try being the 30-something single girl at social gatherings sometime).  There are big, honking chunks of my life from 10 or so years ago that I still miss daily, especially people.  In some instances, I think I have romanticized the those days as far as their moments go, but I don't think I've done that with the people.  I'm a hard person to win over, and there were people from my former church (which feels almost like a former life, at this point) that I truly loved who are no longer people I see and that's so difficult to face. And it's harder because I just haven't found the kind of fit that I had at that time in my life again. 

At dinner the other night, a friend and I were bemoaning the unique situations we are in socially.  It's hard to be a woman without a family of my own when most people my age have at least started on one.  There just isn't a lot of common ground. When the church you were raised in and the church you spent most of your 20's in are no longer a part of your life (one literally no longer exists), it's hard to know where you belong. 

I'm thankful that I belonged here, even if that has waned through my inability to find the time or find the words.  I'm thankful for the people I "met" and the thoughts and silliness shared in equal measure.  And while I doubt I will ever blog with the frequency I once did, I hope I can at least stop by with a thought or two a little more often, because we need as many places we belong as a we can get.  Even if they are ones you create for yourself.