Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 30: What I Love About My Life Right Now

I want to start by saying how much I have really enjoyed the 30-Day Blog Challenge!  I'm so glad that I decided to join you, Rebecca, and that I have gotten to know you as we blogged.  Now on to today's question.  What am I loving about my life right now?  While there are certainly things that make me a little crazy, I have trouble finding things I don't love about my life right now.  It's easy to find things to whine about, and we all know I do, but I have it more than pretty good.

I have a good job that I love with all my heart.  I have fabulous friends who have been there for me through thick and thin.  I have a family who loves me for who I am and has always supported me, no matter what.  I have a cozy house all my own.  I am in good health.  I have met some of the most interesting, funny and amazing people through this blog and would be remiss to not say how much I love blogging and the people who take a couple minutes out of their day to read what I have to say!

Simply put, I am one lucky girl!  What are you loving about your life?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Break Recap

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  My break actually started on Wednesday, and the most monumental things I did that day were shop and bake a cheesecake for the big event.  Thursday started with the Macy's Parade on TV.  When I was a kid, I loved the parade not for the floats and balloons, but for the performances at the beginning before the parade gets to Herald Square.  And things haven't really changed that much.  We have lunch at the Farmhouse with my mom's side of the family, which is significantly larger than my dad's side.  Not everyone was home, but there was still a nice size crowd in attendance.  Here's a peak at the table...

And this wasn't even everything!
 Pecan, Egg Custard and Cheesecake...and I somehow missed the Pumpkin Pie!
 These cookie bars rocked my world...
We also took a little time to sing "Happy Birthday" to Bob.  Bob was my Grandpa Gus's best friend and has had that seat at family dinners for as far back as I can remember.  He's just another member of the family and it was great to be able to celebrate with him.
 This is the bucket that I ended up getting on Wednesday at Annie Laurie's.  Laurie was in and it's always so much fun to talk to her.  I've already shown you my cow creamer, but I didn't have the bucket where I could get a good picture.  (I know, buckets are terribly fascinating...)
But what is significant is that we needed a new bucket so that we could make this.
My family makes wine and it is awesome!  We don't have our own vineyard, but we do everything else ourselves.  It's just for our use, but it's a tradition that has been going on for many years and just keeps getting better with each year.  After dinner, we all settled in the living room and watched a little football.
I didn't get any pictures because I forgot both my cameras, but in the evening I went down to my cousins for even more family dinner.  I was totally stuffed by bedtime on Thursday, let me tell you.  I've mentioned before that I am not a Black Friday shopper, so I hung out around the house and watched movies and whatnot on Friday.  Saturday, I went over to Mom and Dad's because all the othe kids were gathering for a little of Dad's chili.
But Dad wasn"t the only cook in town...
Lu feels the same way about raw meat that I do, in that it's gross.  But, she lovingly prepared a hamburger for her beloved anyway.  Look how excited she was about it!
 And the finished product wasn't so bad either!
 Not to say that Boyfriend wasn't busy doing some cooking of his own.  Check out his cheesy breadsticks!

 Meanwhile, my mama was making cupcakes with Hershey's Chocolate Buttercream Icing!  There are no words for how I feel about these cupcakes.  I totally could have eaten the whole batch.

I know this has already been a super long post but I wanted to share a couple of pictures before I finished up.  Even though it has been cold and somewhat rainy here, I was amazed to see that Mom's knockout rose still had new blooms on it!  It was too pretty to pass up.
 And finally, because he missed being on the blog, here's a pic of my parents' evil cat, Shredder.  We have made our peace, but that's just so he has more time to stalk and torment Boyfriend!  He's more than happy when everyone goes home!  
It was a great weekend, just too short!  (Unlike this post!)

Day 29: I'm Just A Broadway Baby!

Today's question was about concerts I've been to.  I still remember the very first concert that I ever went to.  I was four and my mom took me to see The Judds, who were opening for The Oak Ridge Boys.  Naomi was wearing a hot pink dress with green and red can-cans underneath, and I remember thinking that was the best thing ever and asking Mom if I could do that too!  The best concert I've ever been to is pretty easy to call because it was one of the more impulsive things I remember doing.  The summer that Amber and I went to Charleston, SC, we found out that James Taylor would be playing in Charlotte, NC.  So, we planned what turned out to be the best sidetrip ever!  Not only is James awesome in concert, but I remember that being the most fun I've ever had in a crowd.  It was an absolute blast!  However, the real love of my life will always be theater...
When I was still in grade school, my grandparents started taking me to the city to see real touring companies perform.  If I wasn't already in love with theater, I fell then.  I saw Mame, Cats, Phantom of the Opera--it was magical!  Then, at 17, I went to New York City and saw The Lion King and Les Miserables on Broadway.  I went back in 2000 and added Aida and Footlose to the list.  If you can see Julie Taymor's costuming or hear Heather Headley sing and not love the theater, you are dead inside.  There's simply nothing else like it!  I even got to fulfill my childhood dream of standing on a Broadway stage, thanks to a backstage tour from Chris. 

While I haven't made it back to NYC, I have caught a couple of good touring companies, including Throroughly Modern Millie and 42nd Street (which is one of my  favorites!).  And I still go to see community theater productions at least a couple times a year, too.   

What are your best concert or theater memories?

Sunday, November 28, 2010


This was originally going to be a post about how great my Thanksgiving was.  And I'm sure that will come.  But that's just not what's on my mind right now.  My life is in a season of change.  And I don't know about you, but I don't especially like this kind of change.  Big life changes just aren't fun.  Even when you know they are the right ones. 

Because there are things that I just can't abide by.  I don't like people who lie, people who pander, or people who refuse to call things like they really are.  I've been dealing with a bit too much of that recently from places that you wouldn't necessarily expect to.  It breaks my heart that things are going in the direction they are for a thousand reasons.  Most of them are somewhat selfish, but that makes them no less painful. 

I don't know what's going to happen in the next few weeks or months.  I have no clue where God is taking me or for what reasons.  What I do know is that I can no longer stay where I am and be right with God.  That's clear.  He's calling me out because there is nothing left for me where I am, and I've known that for a while.  I talk a good talk, say all the right things because I have the head knowledge, but my faith is languishing because my heart is no longer in it. 

Even when you know it's the right thing, change is hard.  Perhaps that's so we don't do it flippantly, because these aren't all feelings that I want to feel or fears I want to face.  So, what I am asking is this, if you are the praying kind, pray for me and for those affected during this time of change. (God knows all the details.) Because what I do know is that prayer can work wonders, and sometimes it seems to be all I have left. 

Day 28: What's In My Purse?

This is my purse. 
It's fairly new so I haven't had time to trash it.  Normally, my purse would hold any number of things.  I know this one is big enough that I can fit my lunch and a large bottle of water in it.  It's also deep enough that I routinely lose things in it and have to dig around and pull things out of it, clown-car style.
These are the current contents of my purse.  Nothing too suspect--a couple cosmetics bags, wallet, planner, gum, assorted receipts, my 4GB flash drive, a bracelet, pen and my purse camera.  It's actually a little boring.  I would totally lose a game of "Let's Make A Deal" or that fun purse party game.  That makes me want to put some crazy things in there.  Or at least try to compete with Sheena's list

So ladies, the question is what's in your purse?  Link up in the comments. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 27: My Pet

Delilah is weird.  I've discussed this before actually.  But it's hard to describe what it's like to live with such an odd little animal.  Luckily, she's given me some photographic evidence.  As I was working in my office last week, this is what I looked over and saw....

 Need I say more?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 26: Plans For The Weekend Ahead

To be perfectly honest, I don't know what this weekend holds.  Here's what I am not doing:
  • getting up to the sound of an alarm clock
  • going Black Friday shopping.  At all.  Because, again, shopping is a leisure activity, not an endurance sport.  And they would have to give me everything I wanted for free and load it in my car as I pulled up at the curb for me to get up at 3 AM to shop.
  • worrying about things that can be taken care of on Monday.
Instead, I might:
  • go to the movies
  • stop by a friend's birthday celebration
  • sing karaoke
  • blog
  • take more pictures
  • go for a long, cold walk (this one is looking less and less likely as the temps drop
  • finish my list of chores around the house
It's kind of nice not to have plans, especially at such a busy time of the year.  What are your plans for the weekend?  Doing anything special?  Let me hear it in the comments!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 25: The iTunes Shuffle

I love this idea.  I was going to use my iPod, but I thought it might be a little more fun to use my actual iTunes on shuffle.  I should start by saying that I have A LOT of music.  It, like most enterainment, is kind of my thing.  And that I will pretty much listen to anything once.  So, there's no real guarantee that these 20 songs will be music that I listen to all the time, in fact, I'd say that they probably won't be, but this should at least be interesting.  Here goes nothing.... (in song, music, album format)

1. Under A Mountain (acoustic) - The Black Crowes - Croweology

2.  Brick House - Commodores

3. The Stoop - Little Jackie

4. Think Of Me - Rosie Golan - The Drifter and the Gypsy

5.  My Deliverer - Mandisa - Freedom

6.  You Will Find Me - Andrew Ripp - She Remains the Same

7.  Stay - Little Big Town - Little Big Town

8.  Lover, You Should Have Come Over - Jamie Cullum - Twentysomething

9.  Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - Bette Midler - For The Boys Soundtrack

10.  As I'm Leaving - David Gray - Lost Songs 95-98

11.  Don't Stop Believing - Glee Cast - Glee: The Music, Volume 1

12.  It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas - Bing Crosby - The Voice of Christmas

13.  Up Around The Bend - Creedence Clearwater Revival - Boxed Set 1970 (Disc 4)

14.  Amor - Ben E. King - Valentine's Day Soundtrack

15.  All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey - Merry Christmas

16.  Love Story - The Gabe Dixon Band - On A Rolling Ball

17.  Best For Last - Adele - 19

18.  Years - Beth Nielsen Chapman

19.  Up On The Roof - James Taylor & Carole King - Live At The Troubador

20.  Anywhere But Here - SafetySuit - Life Left To Go

Yep, I'm not sure any of these songs ever come up when I'm not making a list for the blog.  But they were all there amongst the pile, so they are fair game.  Can't wait to see what everyone else has on their lists!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Socially Awkward Behavior and Other Staples of My Life

Not that you would know from all the posting that's been going on here, but there has been a lot going on around these parts recently.  I've been thankful that I had banked and scheduled most of the 30-Day Challenge ahead of time, otherwise I probably wouldn't have done it much. 

On Saturday, a colleague passed away from cancer.  She'd put up an unbelievably strong fight, but she finally reached the point where she just couldn't anymore.  Malesa had been my kindergarten co-teacher (along with Mom), had worked at the school for 29 years in fact, including all the ones I've been there as a teacher.  She was one of the quietest women I've ever known, and when she did speak, you really had to listen to hear her soft, sweet voice.  She was one of my Auntie B's group of best friends from childhood, and their friendship remained strong through it all.  Her daughter was one of the "hall babies,"  the teacher's kids, and is the same age as Matt.  At the visitation, I found myself without words for her.  What do you say to someone who just lost their mom so young?  Whose mom will never get to see her grandchild grow?  So, I did my normally socially awkward thing and rambled about my hair and how sorry I was and goodness only knows what else.  Good to know you can always count on some things...

There has also been lots of  basketball, which translates mostly to working the concession stand in my life (oh, processed nacho cheese, bain of my existence).  We had one of the biggest games of the season last night, which meant there was much to keep us busy.  My boys didn't come out on the winning side, but I was so proud.  They played a great ballgame.  I just love basketball season! 

And today, I ran to see the ever fabulous Laurie at my favorite shop, as she was nice enough to put a bucket back for me for our wine-making venture at Grandma's.  I, of course, couldn't stop at just the bucket and also purchased this guy (because seriously, how badly did a need a red cow-shaped creamer!)

After a quick shopping expedition in the highly overheated mall, I've made it back home.  And I'm pretty much planning on spending the rest of my evening doing Thanksgiving prep!  I'm going to all my traditional places, so I'm sure I will have some things to share this weekend!  (I will not, however, be participating in Black Friday, because shopping should be leisure and not an endurance sport.)  I'm thankful for SO many blessings God's placed in my life, and not the least of those is you, my people!  Have a great Thanksgiving!

Day 24: My Town

While I do live in a tiny town now, I didn't actually grow up in one.  I lived on my family's farm for the first 20+ years of my life.  While we didn't actually live on the homeplace that's been in my mom's family for over 100 years, my front yard was measured in acres, and we roamed quite a bit of it.  We had three ponds at our disposal and I remember going fishing on warm summer days.  My cousin and I would go on four-wheeler rides and pick Easter flowers, drive through creeks and just generally explore.  In the winter, we had a great time sledding down many hills.  (And only have two cautionary tales, so I think we came out okay!)  It was a good way to grow up. 

There are times I think it might have been interesting to grow up in a city.  I would have loved to be close to museums, zoos, culture.  But I was lucky to have grandparents and parents who made sure that I got plenty of that in my life too.  I don't really feel like a missed a thing.  In fact, I remember visiting cities and thinking about how nice it would be when I got back to the slower pace of home. 

I'm a country girl, deep down.  Just don't expect me to bait my own hook.  Worms are gross.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 23: A Video I Love

I have to admit that I am a little addicted to YouTube.  Okay, more than a little.  It's closer to obsessed.  So, I have a lot of options when it comes to videos.  I narrowed it down to three videos that make me smile. 

The first is a video from the Tonys.  If you don't know anything about In The Heights, the Tony Award winning musical that I've mentioned more than once on here, I'd have to start by saying that it gets its heart and spirit from composer/lead actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda.  He started writing it when he was 18, and ten years later, it won him a Tony.  And he raps his speech.  (Oh, and I happen to believe in Chris Jackson, too.)  Let me know if you aren't completely teary-eyed at the end when he thanks his then-girlfriend (now wife), Vanessa.

If that doesn't get you, check out this one.  Erin, who I went to college with, and her husband, Jeremy welcomed a beautiful baby girl in August.  This is a video they made of their maiden voyage into parenthood.  It took more than 1,200 pictures to create it, but I think you will agree it was well worth it! (Thanks for letting me share it, Erin & Jeremy!)

And finally, I give you 14 seconds that doubles me over every single time I watch it.  In fact, I can't believe it wasn't Sheena's favorite video.  Hips do, in fact, lie, people.

I especially love that he sings along!  Hope you've got the giggles now too!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My New Haircut

I wish that I had a before picture of my hair.  It had gotten really long.  And hot.  And was taking a thousand years to dry in the morning.  I have a ton of hair and it is very thick, so after a point, I can't really fix it, I just keep making it bigger.  Tonight I went to see my awesome hair guru, and Jen didn't steer me wrong.  I love this!  (and even don't mind this self portrait!  Please pay no attention to the drying rack I've hung in my office.)
 And this was more or less my hair inspiration. I wasn't brave enough to go pixie short, but I needed to have bangs because I have a giant forehead.  I wish that I could have found a better picture of the second cut, because Ginnifer's hair is SO cute in the movie!  But this one did have Josh Duhamel.  And he's awfully cute, so fair trade, I suppose.
I've got great fun planned for tomorrow (and the rest of this week), so stay tuned!!

Day 22: A Website I Enjoy

I'm all about happy thoughts this week, what with it being Thanksgiving and all.  So, I've selected my favorite website based on those grounds.  There are several blogs that I read every single day, but that just seemed like taking the easy way out.  (And besides, I would never want to play favorites.  I love you all equally, except for the Pioneer Woman.  She's way better than everyone else and I want to be her when I grow up! The end.  Ha!)

One website that I go to on a regular basis is It Made My Day.  It makes me laugh and reminds me that there is in fact good in world, even if it's a really crappy day.  Some of them are also very sweet.  It just makes me look at things from a little better perspective after a few minutes, which I guess is pretty much the point. 

What websites do you love?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My New (Unplanned) Look

Through a series of unfortunate decisions, I ended up changing my blog setup.  I am still not thrilled, but I think that I can live with this. 

Let's just hope tomorrow's haircut goes a little better than this.

Day 21: Favorite Food

It's hard for me to pick favorites when it comes to food, so I think I will break it into categories to make my decision a little easier.

Appetizers:  Fried Pickles - If you have never had the opportunity to try this deep-fried delight, allow me to explain.  Dill pickles are sliced long ways into thin strips, covered in batter and fried.  You usually dip them in a spicy ranch sauce of some sort.  And they rock.  While I love Buckner's, The Hangout takes the top prize for the best I've ever had.  Behold...

Entree:  I'm game for pretty much anything Italian, but my favorite has to be lasagna.  It's all the best things about Italian food rolled into one. 

Dessert:  Ice cream.  I especially love this stand near St. Louis that makes concretes that are to die for. 

I do have a special place in my heart for any potato dishes.  I'm all kinds of German that way.  But, I'm a pretty easy girl to please.  (As evidenced from my ever-expanding back side!)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Unpaid Movie Review: Ramona and Beezus

This is how much stuff I need to do today:
This is my only help (and you can see how thrilled she is)
But I had to take a minute and talk about the movie that I just finished watching.  Last night, I bought Ramona and Beezus, mostly because I am obsessed with Ginnfer Goodwin's hair and I am trying to convince myself that's how I should get mine cut on Monday.  (The other part is that I have a slight movie obsession in general and the taste of a 12-year old.) 

But the joke is totally on me because this was one of the happiest movies I've watched in really long time.  I truly loved every minute of it!  It makes you want to hug your sister and go do something really creative.  And when you watch it, I truly believe that you will understand what I mean.  Despite the fact that it was such a happy movie, I will readily admit that I sobbed through the last half.  It just got me.  And I think it will probably get you, too.  Whether you were a stifled creative spirit, an annoyed big sister, or the irrespressible little one, I think you will see yourself.  So, grab a kid if you need to, but go rent, Netflix or buy this movie immediately.  It's that good!  (And Ginnifer's hair is truly adorable!) 

Day 20: Nicknames

I don't really have a lot of nicknames, so this may be my shortest post ever.  My given name is not Katie, so technically that's a nickname.  Crys and some people at church call me Kate.  And a few of my other friends (mostly from childhood) call me Katie Jane.  My brother and sister sometimes call me Sissy, not all the time.  And of course, some of my students call me Ms. Mill for some odd reason (mostly, because it's junior high and they tend to be, well, odd.)  And honestly, that's probably just about it.  I know, your disappointment in my lack of an amusing anecdote is palpable.  I'll try harder tomorrow.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Deer Day

Let me start by saying that I'm really not much good when I am off my schedule.  So I pretty much wasted today.  We didn't have school because it was the opening day of shotgun deer season here.  No, I'm not kidding.  So, since I had the day, I decided to go see my darling "nieces," also known as my friend, Chell's girls.  Here are a few pics.

I posted a pic of my Moo when she was three earlier this week.  She's a big girl now, six almost seven.  I can't believe that she's so old!   Where does the time go?  She loves her Aunt Katie, and was not real into sharing me with her sisters today.  (Who wouldn't love that kind of love!?)  I really have to try to see them a little more often.  I miss them SO much!
The last time I saw Curly Q, she looked like this (in May):
Now, she's over a year old and looks more like this: 
Seriously.  Check out those eyes.  She's a really funny kid, which isn't really surprising considering who her parents and siblings are.  This one though, she just kills me!  Chell says she's Chris Farley reincarnated.  And she loves animals, and Maggie loves her too.  See?
I promise.  No animals were harmed in the making of this post.  I just can't get over her.
And here's the sister in the middle of these two, who I will call Sugar Pie.  She's a mess all her own.  But how can you not love this face?
I didn't get a picture of the oldest daughter, Princess.  She's a sixth grader now, which means that she is now too cool for Christmas outfits or bows.  She's now almost taller than her mama, which means it's time she stops growing too! 

After I got home from my morning with the girls (thanks again for lunch, Chell!), I took a two-hour nap with Lilah.  This is what I mean when I say I am not productive with unstructured time.  I have a million things to do, but I took a nap.  I did at least go get groceries after that, which led to the revelation that deer season is in fact the only time in this neck of the woods it's considered socially acceptable for two heterosexual, grown men to grocery shop together giggling like school girls about what they are going to take back to deer camp.  I saw more than one "couple" doing just that.  I think I have rambled on enough for tonight.  Stay tuned for more goodness from the 30-Day Challenge this weekend!

Day 19: What Do I Miss?

I had to really think about this one.  There are people that I miss, those who were in my life for a season, but aren't now.  I miss my darling "nieces," but will get to rectify that this morning, when I get to visit them.  (There may be pictures later!)  Life has been so busy that I don't get to see them like I did, and that's hard.

But mostly, I miss a specific time in my life.  I miss being in my freshman year of college.  Looking back, that was such a golden time.  I met some of the most amazing people, some of whom have shaped my life in ways that I never could have imagined.  It's where I met my girls, after all!  Honestly, I was terrified of Crystal when I met her.  She sat in front of me in choir and she was loud and funny, and I was not back then.  But it didn't take long for me to get know and love her!  It was also during this time when Sheena (who I'd known previously), Crys, and I started to sing together a bit.  And through Crys, I met David Michael, who was the first person to really challenge what I thought about God and so many other things and reconnected with Janna, one of the sweetest women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  And that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the friends I made during that time in my life.  There were musicals and Madrigals and concerts, and just plain fun.  And while I'm sure it seemed like there were pressing issues in my life, the truth of the matter is that we had it pretty easy.  It was wonderful! 

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to go back there.  I am a big fan of moving ahead and not looking back on another time in my life with great longing, because this time is pretty awesome!  But I do miss the time when my greatest concerns were nailing a solo for the cantata and where we were going afterward.  I miss a schedule wide open with time for friends, with few real responsibilities.  And I will be forever thankful, because without that particular "then" I would be a completely different person in the now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 18: Weddings!

I'm a sucker for weddings!  I love going to them, being in them, planning them.  I've been a bridemaid or sang at several, and this summer I assisted in planning the first one.  I've mentioned once or twice recently that we have a big one on the calendar for next October, but let me share a few choice picks from some other big days...
I love the flowers...(This was the bouquet I made for Lauren, my first ever)

And the cakes....
 Chell made her wedding cakes and her hubby's groom cake...

And the dancing...

And being a bridesmaid (this was the best pic, despite the number of times I've done it)
And of course, my favorite part, the happy couples!

I just love a good wedding!  What your favorite thing about weddings?