Friday, December 31, 2010

About Last Night & A Little About Today

So, it's possible there was a pity party in this house last night.  And it's also possible that it seemed like a good idea to blog about it.  While I am all about keeping it honest, I don't want to be the world's longest broken record either.  I'm trying to find a balance in that, just bear with me. 

In all honesty, I'm fine.  And I am certainly excited about the start of the New Year.  2010 was good, but I believe that 2011 will be even better.  There are babies to be born, weddings to be celebrated, and who knows what else we will be talking about here on the blog!  Chances are I will be diatribing (is that even a word?) about celebrities, as I'm sure to still be wondering aloud about how it turns out that our country cares more about Jersey Shore than, well, all too many things.  I'm claiming 2011 as mine.  I've got a theme song (King of Anything - Sara Bareilles), I've got a 'kick butt and take names' attitude, and I am ready for whatever comes.

More importantly, today is my little brother's birthday.  He couldn't care less about a shout out on my blog, as I'm fairly certain he's not reading it, but I'm all about fairness here.  So, Happy Birthday, Bubby!  2010 brought you an excellent wife, so I'm not sure how 2011 could be any better but, here's wishing!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Eve and the Single Girl

There are lots of days when it's not fun to be a single girl.  Most of these are holidays.  Now, I know that most people would say that Valentine's Day is the most difficult day to be single, but I disagree.  I think it's New Year's Eve.  Perhaps I've just listened to this song too much...

But I feel like New Year's Eve is all about that kiss at midnight, facing the idea of a whole new year to spend with one another.  And what's the fun when you don't have anyone to kiss?  New Year's happens to also be my little brother's birthday, so traditionally we all eat at Mom and Dad's.  When we were younger all my parents' friends, plus my aunts and uncles would all watch movies and play board games while this kids played.  Then, as I got older I started finding something to do, whether that was hang out with whatever friend stayed over or going somewhere.  I think one of my favorite NYE was probably back in 8th grade, when we went to my cousin's and hung out with her brother and his friends.  I remember thinking we were such big stuff for being allowed up there with boys and no parents (mind you, they were just across the field.)  I mean, look at us, we were obviously trouble.  (What's really troubling is the fashion and hair...I'm the one in the floor on the right)
What feels like a million years later, I sit here thinking about how, yet again, I won't have anyone to kiss at midnight--how I never have.  And I think that would be one of the nicest feelings in the world.  Maybe I am over romanticizing it.  But, maybe I'm not. 

I am all about ringing in a New Year.  2010 was a heck of a lot kinder than 2009.  And I'm really excited about what lies ahead of me, because I believe it will be good.  It's just that, if I were to be perfectly honest, it's getting harder and harder to believe that a man will come into my life over the course of a year.  I know, I know, anything can happen.  It's just getting harder to really believe that it actually will. 

Needless to say, I won't be ringing in the New Year at a fancy party.  I will, quite possibly, be ringing it in from the warmth of my bed in my fleece pjs, champagne in one hand and reruns on TV.  And I'm okay with that, all in all.  But just because I am okay with it, doesn't mean I won't be dreaming of something else when my head hits the pillow.

Cleaning House

I'm not being metaphorical here.  I've been trying to actually clean up around here during break.  You'd think it would be easy to keep things clean with just one person living here, but that's not true, mostly because this one person tends toward the messy.  I'm a packrat, which after my time at the Farmhouse this week, appears to be genetic.  I want to be organized, I'm just terrified that if I throw something away I will immediately need it.  (Yeah, I know that's what the hoarders say.  Shut it.)

Anyway, I've almost succeeded in getting my kitchen put together. (Pictures will follow soon!) It's not perfect, but it's certainly not terrifying either.  I'm hoping to get the bathroom and at least part of the dining/living room done before break is over, because I know once I get back to school, my time will be limited.  I think that the majority of the problem is that the chaos doesn't really bother me, and since I'm the only one here, it doesn't really matter.  But I've decided that's no longer an acceptable excuse. 

2011 (and my 30th year) is going to be the year I finally get my crap together.  I'm officially declaring it so here on the blog, so there's no taking it back!  I'm going to trash the stuff that doesn't work, get rid of what I don't use, and otherwise behave like the adult I (gulp!) actually am!  Because how can I expect to have peace in my life if I don't have order in it first?

Shredder's View Of Christmas

Shredder is my parents' cat, if you have never heard me mention him before.  He is about as spoiled as they come, and is famous for disliking almost everyone not a member of our family.  In fact, he's not always that friendly to us.  But like the baby of most families, he can do no wrong in my mother's eyes.  At least he's awfully nice to look at and he has more personality than almost any cat I've ever met.  (Unfortunately, most of that personality includes descriptors like hateful, needy, and territorial.)  Here's Christmas in his words...

 "Christmas is a difficult time of year to be a cat.  Everyone is home, which completely destroys my nap schedule.  Then, there's the extra things to attack, like presents and bows.  And that's added into my normal schedule of begging for attention and tormenting visitors.  Sometimes, you just need a rest..."
 "It's nice to have a human willing to pick you up and hold you sometimes.  Don't judge me.  If you could, you'd totally do it too, and you know I'm right, so don't even argue."
 "When you do get a moment's rest, it's heater time.  My humans have placed one in the downstairs so that I have a place to get my body temp up to a preferred 107.4.  I'd like to be a little warmer, but I'm told it could cause me to actually burst into flames..."
"I'll certainly be glad when everyone returns to work and school.  How else is a cat suppose to get his 20 hours of sleep?  Happy New Year indeed!"

And Now, The Rest Of Christmas...

Like I mentioned in my last post, I took a lot of pictures of things this Christmas.  It's one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, however, I believe it was the direct influence of the cold medication looking back.  We totally got a "White Christmas," but we didn't get slammed like a lot of places did.  I was perfectly happy with our inch or two.

The Wednesday before Christmas I got to have lunch with my friend, T.  She's an Eastcoaster now, which comes in handy sometimes.  (She's how we stayed in Charleston on Amber's first trip to the beach!)  She came home with more than Christmas spirit, however.  As her Christmas cards revealed, she's going to have a baby in June!  I had actually had a dream that she was pregnant several weeks ago, so I wasn't nearly as surprised as I might have otherwise been, but I am VERY excited!  I didn't get a picture of her and her baby bump, but I did get a picture of her parents' puppy lying on my shoe. 
Before we went to Christmas Eve at the Farmhouse, my family exchanged gifts.  I did manage to get a few pictures of people at that event, including my SIL's hilarious t-shirt!
 This is my seldom seen on the blog Daddy, opening his shirt that I got him.  (Well, shirt that Mom picked up because I couldn't find one in his size, but whatever.  I did manage to find him a couple books to keep him busy this week!  No one likes to read more than my dad!)

After that, it was to the Farmhouse for dinner and gifts.  You will see that we don't mess around with either.
 My world-famous apple dip!
 The tree was exploding with goodies!
 But, here's a little proof how big that side of the family is!  (It's ever-expanding, too, as my cousin and his wife just had a baby girl the week before Christmas!)  This old piano covered in pictures is one of my favorite things about my grandma's house.
After we finished, I went back to Mom and Dad's and mocked choirs on TV with my sister (a family tradition) and then went in to see what goodies "Santa" had left us!   That's right, we still get stuff from Santa.  Wanna make something of it?  It's one of my mom's favorite things to do, and we will let her do it at least until she gets a grandkid to spoil!  Christmas Day started with 8:15 Mass.  This picture was taken after (another family tradition).  (Please ignore how red and nasty my face looks.) 
We had Christmas with my dad's side of the family that afternoon which meant more presents, more food, and being able to really enjoy Christmas with my cousin's kids.  Doesn't the look on his face say it all??

I did Mays' Christmas that night and managed not to get a single picture, but it was a nice wrap-up to a great couple of days.  I would be remiss if I didn't show you want my SIL made (that's right, made) us for Christmas this year.  She usually makes us something special, a scarf or jewelry, but this purse takes the cake!  Thanks, Mel!  It's perfect!

 Here's hoping you had a great one filled with family (and maybe even pictures of them) this year!  One more Christmas post to go, but from a different perspective to come!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Brace Yourself. It's Time To Recap Christmas...

To fully recap Christmas Break so far, you really have to go back to Saturday the 18th.   Okay, so technically, you need to go back to the week before that, because that was when we did this:

Our women's group, The Apron Society, was having a cookie walk to make money for presents for needy families at Christmas.  Our little group of five women made 36 dozen cookies alone!  On the actual day, there was so much stuff I couldn't believe it!  We are talking at least 200 dozen cookies/cakes/goodies easily!  We were able to raise over $1000, and I was in charge of taking a portion of that to buy for some of the families on our list.  (Thanks to my awesome mother, who helped me shop for and then wrapped all these presents because I am absolutely no good at wrapping!)
This was also the Christmas of the Panera Cinnamon Crunch bagel.  It began on the last day of work when a colleague brought some in, and continued through the weekend!  Behold the wonder that is this breakfast sensation:
I am not going to subject to you the whole Christmas in one post (especially since I haven't even really gotten to Christmas yet), but know that I ended up with a sinus infection and was heavily drugged through most of the first week of break, including Christmas.  At least this is the excuse I am using as to why I have almost no pictures of people but lots of pictures of things.  At any rate, there's more to come in the morning...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If Only I Had Pink, Shiny Heels...

Twenty years ago today, a little after 8:00 AM, my daddy called Grandma Mary Jo's to tell Matt and me that we had a little sister.  Matt was less than thrilled, but I had gotten exactly what my nine year-old heart wanted--a sister.

At 20, she still believes her birthday is a national holiday.  This year she declared that it should be celebrated by wearing something pink, something shiny, or high heels (I went with shiny and heels, in case you were dying to know).  We had dinner at Willy Jack's and went and saw True Grit with the fam, and I am an absolute failure because my only pics from tonight are on my phone, but here's a quick photo retrospective of some of my other favorite moments.  (The girl has always loved the camera!)

We may not have always gotten along (for we are entirely too much alike), but we have always loved each other in the ways that counted.  Now, she is no longer a teenager and almost a nurse, but she will forever be my baby sister!  Happiest of happy birthdays to you, Lu!  (I think this counts as a nice starter birthday present, since you demanded your own post and all :) 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Maybe Tonight?

I've got a million things to share with you!  Fun things, awesome things, I tell you!  And hopefully, I will be up to posting some pictures and telling some stories tonight.  Right now, I just want to shower, curl up in bed, and take a nap.  I decided that I would clean my kitchen today.  Full-on deep clean, floor-to-ceiling, leave-no-cabinet-unturned kind of clean.  And I am happy to say that much progress has been made.  (Seriously, there may even be blog evidence to come!)

I took a blog break over much of last week and the weekend, but I wanted you to know that there will be so many things discussed this week!  Stay tuned--

Friday, December 24, 2010

May Your Days Be Merry and Bright...

I just wanted to take a minute to wish you all a Merry Christmas!  I promise that once all the hoopla of the holidays is over, I will be a better blogger.  This week has just been crazy busy!  (Not to mention that I have somehow managed to develop a sinus infection, so that's just awesome...)

Anyway, I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas full of family and friends.  Take some time to celebrate the real reason for the season, too--the birth of Christ.  I love blogging so very much and am thankful for each and everyone of you that I have "met" here.  There will be so very many pictures come Monday! 

All my love---Katie

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Share your Christmas Eve traditions.
    Christmas Eve is always spent at the Farmhouse with my mom's side of the family.  After we eat and open presents, and just generally hang out, my immediate family goes back to my parents', where we open our presents from my parents, which always includes pjs.  I usually stay the night there and get up early and go to Mass with my mama.

2. What was the best book you read in 2010? (we're not going to include The Bible here)
     I'm a huge Jen Lancaster fan and her newest book, My Fair Lazy, was pretty great!  I wish I had done a lot more reading in 2010!  Maybe 2011 will teach me better time management?

3. Do you have pets and if so do you allow them on the furniture?
     Delilah pretty much goes anywhere she wants!  I'd like to think that I could stop her from getting up on things, but I totally know better.

4. What event from 2010 are you most thankful for?
     I'm thankful for so many things that I don't even know where to start!  There have been so many wonderful things in my life this year.  I'm so thankful to officially have my sister-in-law in our family, for great changes at my job situation.  So many blessings!

5. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before.
      This was the year for me to begin developing my skills as an event planner.  I still have a lot to learn, but I think that Project Graduation went off without a hitch.  And I helped with Michael and Lauren's wedding, which was certainly a learning experience for us all!  But it was beautiful (if hot) and at the end of the day, they were still married no matter what.

6. Brussel sprouts...friend or foe?
     Never actually had one.  Though I don't really feel the need in my life for them either.

7. Who would you nominate for man/woman of the year?
     I kind of think this man/woman of the year stuff is for the birds.  I mean, there are certainly people we all recognize that do great things because of their position.  But I also think that being able to have influence comes with a position of power.  I think that the people we really need to recognize are the ones who work tirelessly in their community to make the world a better place, even if no one ever sees or knows about it.  Those are the people that need to be honored by the rest of us.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Looks Like I'm Doing Alright...

Since I left things on a less than positive note, and I'm going to be very busy for the next several days, I just wanted you to know that I'm fine.  I survived Friday and the rest of a crazy busy weekend (cookie walk, birthday party, Christmas cantata, shopping for church Christmas families).  And this week is not going to slow down, as I have no Christmas shopping done and just this week to do it in.  I have all sorts of things to tell you and pictures to show you, I promise.  And I'm really hoping to be able to do that soon! 

But for now, I leave you to fix my hair and head out to the stores...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Guess Who's Lacking Christmas Spirit?

Today I am crabby.  Seriously crabby.  And easily annoyed.  Which is a problem when you teach middle school, as the population on the whole tends toward the annoying.  I hear you saying "But it's the last day, Katie.  Shouldn't you be filled with joy?"  Anyone who asked that has never taught school the week before a major break.  And I will be filled with joy.  This afternoon, as soon as the bell rings.

I love my job.  I really, really love my kids.  It's just that today, I'm having a little trouble mustering the happy.  Pray for me, people.  It's going to be a long "short" day.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Meanwhile, My Brain Is Somewhere Sipping Pina Coladas

I'm beginning to worry about myself.  I think that my brain has already headed off on a Christmas break getaway.  I'm just an absolute mess this morning.  I made it out of bed on time, but was already running late by the time I got out of the shower.  Then I couldn't decide what to wear and my hair wouldn't fix.  I almost forgot to put in the Butter Braid I was taking to the office for a pre-Christmas breakfast treat.  But, by 7:30, everything was going well.  I was in the car, with the still warm bread, halfway to work, when I looked in the rearview mirror and screamed. 

That's right, my dear people, I saw my own reflection and realized that I didn't have a stitch of makeup on.  And I am not one of those annoying people who leaves the house without it.  Ever.  So, I turned around and went right back home to rectify the situation, since my emergency makeup kit had been robbed of foundation.  (Yes, I have a makeup bag in my car.  Don't judge me.)  Which meant that I was thisclose to being late for work. 

Perhaps my brain is just a little annoyed that I had to go to work today after hearing that we were going to be iced out for the last 24 hours.  Or maybe it's just jealous that some of my teacher friends actually did get the day off.  (Looking at you, Crystal.) Or maybe it knew what the rest of me didn't, that I was not equipped to deal with even small groups of teens all hopped up on the prospect of having the next two weeks off.  Whatever the case, I probably shouldn't be left alone.  And I haven't even started on the cookies yet.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I've mentioned before that my cooking skills are sub-par at best.  I have a handful of decent things, and the rest are well, interesting.  So it's no surprise that I found myself blankly staring at items in the baking aisle today, trying to decide what I would need to make cookies for this weekend.  (We have a women's ministry cookie sale to help us buy goodies for families in need.)  Of course, I didn't have any real recipes in mind.  That would have required planning.  And I don't really do planning.

Instead, I had to ask myself "WWPDD?" which of course stands for "What Would Paula Deen Do?"  Paula Deen is my hero. How could you not be fascinated with the calorie intake of her meals alone?  In one meal this week, she served a deep fried ham, loaded mash potatoes, breaded asparagus, and red velvet bread pudding.  No joke.  My sister and I call her Nana, because we hope that she would adopt us as official taste testers if not granddaughters.  I love her and every Southern-fried recipe that rolls out of her mouth. 

So, immediately, I bought butter. I also bought sweetened condensed milk, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, flour, and chocolate chips.  Those all seemed like things people who bake talk about.  Now all I have to do it pick a recipe.  I promise to keep you updated on the status of the cookies.  After all, it's for the children. 

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What does it mean to have the 'holiday spirit'?
      I think it means that I don't want to take out every person who likes Christmas songs.  It also means that I try to smile at people instead of hollering "Suckers!" out the window as I steal their parking spot in the mall parking lot.  I don't think it means I have to decorate all out, wear Christmas sweaters (thank goodness!), or bake, though you may still enjoy those activities.

2. What sits atop your tree (s)? Why?
     Well, this is where I make my Christmas confession that I don't actually have a tree.  I don't put one up because it's just me at the house, and a tree pretty much just seems like an attack position for Delilah anyway.  So, I don't have anything atop my tree.  I do hang the ornaments across the curtain rods in the living room sometimes, but I don't think I'm even messing with that this year.

3. When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back?
     Today, when I managed to actually make it to work early and finish what I needed done before Homecoming elections.  I've been very productive today, in fact.  Way to go me!

4. Which of your senses is most sensitive this time of year?
     Smell.  Cookies!  And cinnamon.  And Vanilla.  And Grandma's house.  And cookies!

5. What do you have too much of in your kitchen?
     Stuff.  My kitchen also houses my washer and dryer.  And it's very narrow, so the space to stuff ratio doesn't really work for me.  Maybe I can get that fixed over break.  (But I wouldn't count on it!)

6. What do you do for meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Big meal? Breakfast tradition? Open the cookie tins and have at it?
      All of the above?  On Christmas Eve, we go to my mom's side of the family, eat and open presents.  Then I head to my parent where we raid Mom's Christmas goodies and mock the choirs on TV.  On Christmas Day, we have some kind of breakfast goody, then my dad's side of the family comes over and we have another meal and more presents.

7. What is the best thing about winter?
     SNOW!  Not ice (which it sounds like we might be gettting here soon!), but the perfect fluffy goodness of snow can't be beat.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
     Semester exam days don't only test the children.  They also test my patience.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

And Now I Bring You...Amber's Thoughts on Christmas

You've no doubt heard me mention my friend, Amber.  Consider this guest spot further proof of why she really needs her own blog...

The Christmas season is a lot like a natural disaster, or a high security alert day… regardless, it means you cannot safely enter a Walmart. Not that I really ever go to the Walmart here, due to the fact that it smells vaguely of pigs most days and strongly of pigs on the other days.

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve spent every weekend Christmas shopping (and yes, that does include Black Friday because I’m one of “those” people). I love shopping, so truly this is not any sort of sacrifice, but Christmas is different because I find myself in places like Hot Topic perusing the latest Team Jacob Twilight gear. But aside from the strange cultural experiences and crowds, being at the mall is tough because I also despise most Christmas music… down to the very core of my being. You see, there are only about 15 Christmas songs, yet there are 4000 versions of each of them. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” is acceptable, but only my dad’s rendition.

I could go on and on about these inconveniences of Christmas… shopping, music, the stress of being so


Yep, I know you’re out there… those people who complain about the multiple gatherings you’ll have to attend… the office Christmas party, something at this in-law’s, this cousin’s, that friend’s . I’ve done it too, I’m not judging. I refer to not being able to make it to my boyfriend’s grandmother’s house for Christmas Eve as “dodging the bullet.” Funny right?
Hang in there, I am going somewhere with this.

I went to Walgreens today for some candy for my office and I saw some of that “Old Fashioned Mix”… you know what I’m talking about, that hard candy. It’s kind of shiny and colorful, usually striped or swirly or just little round pieces with tiny pictures in the middle. I don’t understand how they still make this candy, I mean I understand literally because I’ve seen that particular episode of Unwrapped… but does anyone really eat it?

We used to do Christmas Eve at my great-grandparents’ house every year. We would drive out to their farm, eat a big dinner and then open presents. Great-Grandma B always had a crystal bowl of that old fashioned candy sitting out. I would just look at it most of the time. Standing in the room alone, staring at the bowl. I thought the candy was far too pretty to actually eat… each piece reminded me of a tiny tree ornament. Inevitably I would sneak just one piece… not sure why I was sneaking because obviously Great-Grandma B put the bowl out for a reason, but the candy was so beautiful that I felt guilty. I would sit on the floor until the single piece melted in my mouth entirely, and then I would rejoin the family.

Then we’d drive home, me in the backseat surrounded by my plunder of stuffed animals and board games, plaid jumpers, fuzzy socks, and my first camera (a Kodak 110). I’d watch the Christmas lights fly past the window in a colorful blur until I fell asleep.

Heartwarming, right?

I saw that candy today and my eyes got kind of watery right there in the store. My great-grandparents have obviously passed away since then and while I do miss them, I was more lamenting the idea that things were never going to be that way again. We would never go back there for Christmas Eve, and I probably won’t ever feel as content and carefree as I used to on the ride home… the best I can hope for is a new tradition.

My boyfriend’s parents, sister, and Granny D always go to the Chinese buffet on Christmas day. Last year was my first year being able to attend, and I will be tagging along again this year… I kind of scoffed at the idea initially because who gets Chinese food on Christmas? But being part of a tradition and spending time with the people who care about you most is nothing to scoff at. It’s also not something to suffer through… enjoy each moment while the opportunity lasts.

I’ll even endure the awful music blaring at Macy’s, and I’ll fight the crowds for the perfect gift. I’ll learn to laugh at the things that irritate me and move on, because really, it’s only once a year.

As for my family, we’ve started going to my dad’s sister’s house to spend Christmas Eve with her family.  And I bought the old fashioned hard candy, if you’re wondering. I’m thinking about putting a bowl of it out at my aunt’s house this year. I don’t even care if anyone eats it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's a SNOW DAY!!!

Mind you, we didn't get that much snow.  But it's very cold here, like zero degree wind chills and we just don't get that around here.  And the town is still on a boil water order.  And one of our principals is snowed in upstate (Hi, Cousin!), so we'll take it.  (Unrelated fun fact:  It will be warmer today in the capital of Iceland than it will be in the capital of (the US state) Georgia! WOW!)   Of course, I didn't actually know any of this until after I had already gotten up for work this morning.  I'm not entirely sure what happened, but when I saw it on the news (and checked it on the internet, and called my mama), I had a little breakfast and went right back to bed.  It was so very warm and cozy! 

To make things even better, after I woke up from my little nap, my mama called and wanted to know how I felt about coming over for some homemade chicken and noodle!  Like that's even a decision!  I just wanted to put all my super happy snow day energy back out onto the internet!  Hope you are having a great day wherever you are!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why White Christmas Is An Awesome Movie

UPDATE:  December 1, 2011 -- I've noticed that this post has been getting a ton of hits from Google and Pinterest and if you are visiting, I just wanted to say hello and welcome!  White Christmas truly is a Christmas classic and I will no doubt watch it a dozen times before NYE.  Hope you love it, too! 

Merry Christmas!  --Katie
I still remember the first time I watched Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen do the "Sisters" fan dance in their fluffy, blue lace dresses.  I was playing in the living room of my grandma's house on a Sunday afternoon.  I'm not sure exactly how old I was, but I remember stopping whatever I was doing and just sitting mesmerized by the whole scene.  I think we ended up watching most of the movie, but I only really remembered that scene.  I wanted to be those girls.

Not to be confused with these "sisters."
I've spent most of my life fascinated by musicals.  My brother, on the other hand, has spent most of his life begrudgingly sitting through musicals that his sisters were in.  Which is why it cracks me up that his wife loves old movies, particularly White Christmas, which she convinced him to watch with her recently.  While we had dinner last week, the subject of this movie came up and Mel and I argued that it was one of the best Christmas movies.  Matt was unmoved.  So, on this snowy Sunday, I decided I would rewatch the movie (like that was a chore!) and make notes, proving that I was, as usual, correct.  Here's the proof:

Of course, I don't expect you to be able to actually read these notes.  I've broken them down into a few simple categories.

The Cast - Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen should be enough.  I mean, seriously, the banter alone should win this argument.  Anytime "the couples" have one-on-one screen time, it melts the scenery.  But to make things even better, you bring in Mary Wickes as Emma Allen (who was also the crotchety nun in the Sister Act movies, and it's darn near perfect. 
The Songs and Dances - I find it poetic that Vera Ellen was a wonderful dancer, but couldn't sing (they dubbed in vocals for her) and Rosemary Clooney could barely dance!  But that doesn't make any difference when you're watching.  My favorite song is "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" but there are so many great numbers it's hard to pick!  But I could watch Vera Ellen tap and cartwheel all day.  People who can dance fascinate me (as I cannot!).  And how could you not want to be Rosemary when she sings "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me"?  I mean, the dress alone!  (Which we will get to in a second!)  Not that Bing and Danny are slouches in either department! 

Snappy Dialogue -  I love when writers do a great job, but don't seemed too pleased with themselves at the same time.  The "engagement" scene between Vera and Danny alone is argument enough, but you throw in a few of the General's deadpans and Emma's sharp wit and you've got yourself some dialogue!  I suppose some of this is due to my general belief that I was born in the wrong era.  I love the 40s/50s feel of this movie in general.  Bing and his pipe, the warm Vermont ski lodge.  It's just ideal!  (tee hee!)

The Fashion - No list was longer than the dresses I coveted!  It's not like they started with women that were hard to make stunning...

 But add in dresses like the Mrs. Claus themed ending ones and you've got my attention.  There's just something about the fine detail of the costuming departments in these old movie musicals!  In the scene where they are arriving in Vermont, Vera is wearing an adorable yellow coat, but with leopard print accessories!  Or even before that, those blue lace numbers or the dresses they wear after to meet the men at dinner.  Take one look and Vera and Danny during "The Best Thing Happen While You're Dancing" and tell me you don't wish for a dress with an accenting petticoat to swish around in!   From the matching pajama sets, to the show costumes, nothing makes me want to have a 24" waist quite like Rosemary in the black dress at the night club in NYC.  Take a look:
(Photo credit:  This isn't a scene from the movie, but it is the dress.  It's everything that's womanly about fashion.  Great cut, perfect details.  I could go on and on, but I won't.

I think I've clearly made my case.  Of course, judging from all the love I got on here last week for loving this movie, I don't think it's you all who need convincing!  I will, however, be sharing my notes with my sister-in-law!  I'm sure if Matt watched it just one more time, he'd see exactly why it's so great!

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!!

I know it's not a great picture, but I am still in my pajamas and was not ready to tread outside.  I am just so very excited to wake up and see that we have gotten our first official snow!  Now, I know that to those of you who live places where snow is a regular part of winter, and not just a guest star, this doesn't look like much.  But it made me really happy, and I just wanted to share.

Friday, December 10, 2010

What I Don't Want For Christmas

I've seen this on several blogs, like Joyce's for instance, and just couldn't resist playing along.  It's so much easier for me to tell you what not to get me than to tell you what I want anyway.  Here goes nothing...

Whatever you do, DON’T buy me…

1. CD - Really, don't buy me CDs at all.  I'm an iTunes girl.  But as far as artists, don't bother with Justin Bieber, Lady GaGa or Jewel.  And you can hold the Sheryl Crow, The Black Eyed Peas, and anything in the Metal categories.

2. Book - Anything written by Sarah Palin.  Hold your fire if you are a fan.  You are entitled to your opinion.  It's just not the same as mine.  Can't we all just get along??

3. Restaurant gift card - Red Lobster.  I know, the biscuits are to die for.  But I hate seafood.  And I've tried it, a lot of it.  And it still makes me want to barf.

4. Retail store gift card - Wet Seal is probably out.  And Hollister (can't stand the overperfumed, weird darkness of it all, even if I was thin enough to wear it).  And please, I'm not old enough for Christopher or CJ Banks, even if the stuff is sometimes kinda cute.  It makes me think of my mom.

5. Gadget - Pretty much anything from the "As Seen On TV" aisle.  Though I'm ashamed to admit that I  do think Snuggies are wonderfully cozy. 

6.  Other -  I also don't actually need anymore knick-knacks with a strange floral motif.  Or themed jewelry.  Or candles. 

But if you are looking for something and you have a little cash burning a hole in your pocket, you could buy me a Diamond in a Pearl necklace.  Or any of these beautiful purses.  Or, if you are really wanting to show off, you could get me this brand new car

In all seriousness, I will be glad to just have time to hang out with all the people that I love.  No, really.  Unless you want to get me that necklace, because then, I will totally hang out with you instead!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It All Goes Back To The End of Corporal Punishment...

Last Saturday, Steven, Allen and I were having a discussion about how the end of corporal punishment is leading to the downfall of society.  I don't mean beating kids or anything.  We can all agree that is not okay.  What we were really talking about is the lack of manners or understanding of situational appropriateness in today's society.  I love my students, but sometimes you just wonder what goes through their heads before they share some things.  And you don't have to look very far to see that too many people don't take pride in how they look or behave in public anymore. 

I mean, I wasn't exactly raised among high society or anything, but I know how to dress for dinner.  And what fork to use.  Allow me to give a totally random example.  For instance, I don't call people at home, on their private time, if something is not of the utmost importance.   And by utmost importance, I mean someone will die if the answer to my question is not answered right now.  When I call this person, I also don't act like they owe me something or that they know what the heck I'm talking about if I know they don't have all the information.  But even if I do have to make that call, I am apologetic for bothering them on their personal time. I am not demanding or confrontational.  But, of course, this is all hypothetical.

I just really want to teach the world some manners.  And I promise I won't even use a paddle. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Bad, The Good, and the Absolutely Hilarious

"Ring the bells that still can ring.  Forget your perfect offering.  There is a crack in everything.  That's how the light gets in." 
                           -from "Anthem" by Leonard Cohen

"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered, we know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful." 
                             - Elizabeth Edwards, on her Facebook page

The Bad: 
The death of Eizabeth Edwards has really gotten to me.  I don't want to dwell on it, because I already discussed it yesterday.  It's just sad.  She was a lady of true strength, and I think the world is a little darker for having lost her, but blessed for having seen her example.

The Good:
I can't believe that I forgot to share that Little Miss E did make her arrival last Friday!  She's tiny, but healthy.  Mama's doing well also.  I am just so happy for this family.  Every time I see a picture of her, I am reminded of the goodness of God.

The Absolutely Hilarious:
My darling friend, Crys, writes circles around me, so I think it's especially nice of me to recommend that you go visit her blog (HA!).   She's one of those bloggers who fills her blog with wonderful, insightful things that make you think.  Or in this case, makes you roll with laughter.  She's like listening to the speakers at Women of Faith in person.  (I am so completely blessed to have her in my life, all joking aside.)  I completely lost it reading today's blog post and I think that you should read it, too.  Here's the link.  No, seriously, go right now!  You won't be sorry you did!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Have you ever been on a real sleigh ride? How about the warm weather version - a carriage ride?
    This question makes me giggle, because last year we had sleigh rides at our school.  And while it was cool in it's own way, I'm not sorry that we don't have them this year.  I have been on a sleigh ride for sure, and it seems like I have some vague childhood memory of a carriage ride, but I could be wrong.

2. What's your policy on 'chain mail' know, the emails you receive that are often some sort of poem/blessing/good wish that ask you to send it on to 10 or 12 friends? Do you delete without opening, read and trash, read and trash and then worry you won't be blessed/lucky/protected? Do you delete the sender from your contacts or just go ahead and send the love onward?


3. Who is your favorite character in any of the Christmas movies and why?

      Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas.   Especially when she sings "Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep" with Bing Crosby.  Do I really need a because after that?

4. Share a favorite quote.

       I have several deep, thought-provoking quotes that I love and have quoted on here before.  However, I will instead quote Steel Magnolias.  "Oh Spud!  I'm a chain."  which I use all the time.  Or "Pink is my signature color."  Or "If you can't say something nice, come sit by me."  Or....

5. What's your favorite holiday scent?

Homemade Cookies.  Which basically smells like Vanilla, which is my favorite smell anyway.

6. Does the Christmas season stress you out? In what way?

A little.  As a teacher, I don't get a lot of my shopping done ahead of time for various reasons.  So, trying to get all of that done on Saturdays or a few days before with the rest of the general population is stressful.  Particularly because I don't like crowds of impatient people all that much.  And the whole "Who am I socially obligated to get presents/tip extra?" thing always concerns me.  I don't want to offend anyone, but I am not a bottomless pit of cash either. 

7. What's the best thing about your life right now?

Being comfortable with who I am as a person.  Oh, and those candy orange slices all coated in sugar.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

As much as I love basketball season, processed nacho cheese and hot dogs are starting to wear on my nerves.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Portraits of Grace

I started my morning sad.  One of the lead stories on Good Morning America was about Elizabeth Edwards' advancing terminal cancer.  It doesn't really matter what your political views are, no one likes to hear that someone is dying.  Obviously, I don't know her personally, but I have always felt that she handles herself with such integrity, even during her husband's political career and its issues.  She has always come across in interviews like a normal mom, someone who cared about the kids she has here and deeply missed the one who had gone ahead (the Edwards' son, Wade, was killed in a car accident several years ago), but who wanted to use what influence she had in the world for good.  They reported that on her Facebook, she continues to post messages of encouragement, reminding us that none of us know how much time we truly have left here.  And there's such truth in that.

But I think the thing of it is that I can't hear about Elizabeth Edwards' fight against cancer without thinking about the other women (and men) I have known that fought the brave fight against that awful disease.  Some of them were victorious and I am so thankful for those victories!  Some of them, however, didn't get the miracle they were hoping for.  Instead, they heard the doctors say there was nothing else to do but keep them comfortable, that they had months, weeks, or even days left on Earth.  As we get closer to the holiday season, I can't help but think about the ones who have gone on to Glory.  I think about Joda, my high school friend who has been gone so long now it seems impossible that much time has passed.  I think of Linda and Malesa, whose fights ended just this year.  These women faced their situations with a kind of hope, faith and positivity that just blew me away.  They were the portraits of grace we hope to be if that cloud darkens our door. 

So, as a tribute to those women, as a tribute to anyone who faces the greatest odds and never complains about the injustice of it all, I'm trying to put more kindness into the world.  I'm trying to be focused in my actions towards the people I know and those I don't.  Because I don't think we have to face a life-threatening illness to see that the world doesn't need more people complaining.  It needs compassion.  It needs hope.  It needs grace.  And that's something all of us can give.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why I'm Glad I'm Not 20 Anymore

Don't get me wrong, there are things that I loved about my earliest 20s.  But after this weekend, I am 100% sure I have no interest in being 20 again.  Here's why:
  • The older I get the more confidence I have.  I have this theory that women grow more between 18 and 22 than they do at any other time in their lives.  You grow, you change, you have crazy experiences.  And then you figure out that it doesn't really matter what other people think about you, it's more about what you think about you. 
  • I no longer have the want to compete with girls for guys in social situations.  And I am amused when other girls still do.  Even more so if they get really angry.
  • While I still don't feel like I know what the heck I'm doing 90% of the time, I feel like I have a better handle on how to fake it 'til I make it.
  • Single isn't scary anymore.  It may not be what I want to be forever, but it is no longer my sole focus either.  If I never get marriage and all of that, I no longer feel like I won't make it.  In fact, I know now that I will.  (But if you know any intelligent, handsome, Christian men, feel free to slip them my info...Ha!)
  • Staying out all night is no longer the adventure it once was.  Now it's just the thing keeping me from my warm comfy bed that will, no doubt, make me feel like crap the next day.
And I could go on and on.  I just know so many women who are really freaking out about 30, but I am so very excited about it!  I still have a bit before it's all official, but I can't help but think that my 30's are going to be where it's at! 

I'm curious, those of you who are already I right?  Let me hear about it in the comments!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Recapping the Weekend

Saturday was everything I had hoped it would be.  I had a quick photo shoot in the morning, came home and got pretty and headed over to see the birthday girl!  I went over a little early to do presents and then we headed down to the restaurant to meet everyone else.  Amber said over dinner that the 12 people present really represented all the different times in her life, from childhood to present.  Here's a few pictures (I didn't take that many, believe it or not!)

 Favorite, Amber and Crys
 Cynthia and the Birthday Girl
 Me and Amber (because I realized that there are next to no useable pictures of the two of us, despite our many adventures!)
 That's right, it's Gir and a cupcake--just for the birthday girl!
 Despite an almost incident with several members of a collegiate softball team and one very randy mayor, a great time was had by all.  I did realize that I can no longer stay out until all hours and function as a productive human being.  I haven't been worth anything today, even with a three-hour nap!  But it was worth it all for this! 
Hope the next 25 are even more fun, my friend!