Monday, October 31, 2011

Miranda Lambert, Ya'll!

A week ago Thursday night (I'm only a little over a week behind, which is better than average!), I finally got to see Miranda Lambert in concert.  I am a huge fan and have been looking forward to this concert since I found out about it in the summer.  Let me tell you this, Miranda did not disappoint (and neither did the Pistol Annies, Justin Moore or the Randy Rogers Band).

Not to mention the great company!  This is my sister and her bestie and my mama was with us too, but I didn't get a picture! 
 We were sitting directly opposite the stage, which meant that we weren't super close, but we could see everything.  I loved it!  If I wasn't a Miranda Lambert fan before, I would have been after her show!  She was just unbelievable.  I would easily rank it second only to James Taylor as far as fun goes.  And her new album drops at midnight and I can't wait to hear it!  (In fact, I already ordered it from iTunes!) 

"Everybody dies famous in a small town..."  We know a little something about that song in these parts!
 If you haven't heard the Pistol Annies, you should totally give them a listen!  They are a fresh breath of old-school country!
What a great night!  Just thinking about it makes me smile!

Please Hold For The Next Available Post...

Let me tell you, people, I was so responsible this weekend.  I cleaned my house.  I did loads of laundry and switched out my seasonal wardrobe.  I did my concessions run early.  I graded papers with the best of them.  I even got my bags packed for the week.  What I didn't do was blog.  And since I have morning duty this week, I can't work on them before work like I usually do. 

So, I say all that to say this:  There is a post coming tonight.  Until then, wishing you a Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Finally Friday!

And now, I will regale you with a list, because that's just the kind of girl I am today...
  • I didn't blog yesterday for the first time in forever because my day was insane!  I was in meetings all day and had parent/teacher conference until 7:00, and let's just say the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was talk to anyone
  • I did, however, have no trouble screaming at the World Series!  It was one of the best games ever, and the best team won!  Cards tonight for the win!  (My grandpa would love that!)
  • Today, I am off work and cleaning this house.  And hopefully, calling the furnace guy.  Go me!  (But you will notice that I am currently blogging, so let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.)
  • I have no real plans for the rest of the weekend and that feels so good.  Things have been so crazy lately that having a pretty chill weekend is just fine by me. 
  • I do have to run to Sam's for the school concession stand.  It's that time of year again, but at least this year, I don't have to be in charge of it every week.  God bless the winter concessions rotation!  That trip and a photo shoot of my cousin's family and it's likely that I won't be out of pajamas until Monday!  Makes it easier to clean the house, right?
  • Everyone not dressing up for Halloween--raise your hand!  Yeah, me neither.
  • Pinterest is going to be the end of me.  So addicting!  I could look at all of the great ideas on there all day long.  Which I can't do today, because this house is nasty...
Have a great weekend, people!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 10/26

1. What gives you goosebumps?

Nails on a chalkboard.  Someone who is especially good or especially bad at singing.  Snakes.  (I should say that I can no longer read goosebumps without imagining Taylor calling them the pee-pee shivers, which I think it hilarious!)

2. Halloween-are you a lover or a hater? Okay, that sounds harsh...Halloween-yay or nay?

I am really indifferent.  When I was a kid, I loved the dressing up and the candy and whatnot.  My brother and I sprawled out on the rug in the post-looting exchange remains one of my favorite memories.  However, today, the thought of dressing up just seems like a lot of work.  And most grown-up female Halloween costumes are kind of well...slutty.  And no one wants to see all that.  So, I will be perfectly happy not participating.

3. Can you respect someone you do not trust, and can you trust someone you do not respect?

You can pretend to respect someone you can't trust because I've had to do it, but it's not real respect.  I don't think that you can trust someone you don't have any respect for either.  (see:  American politics) 

4. Apples or oranges? Yes, you have to choose.

Oranges all the way.  During the winter, I will eat so many it would be cheaper to buy my own tree in Florida.

5. What is something you wish was in your town? (shop, restaurant, attraction, etc)

I wish that there were lots of things in the town I live in because it's small and has nothing really.  But if I were to think about the places I frequent, it would be fun to have a Cheesecake Factory or something like that near.  I would also love to have a big mall with a stand-alone Sephora (not that I need any more help spending my money there!). 

6. What non-food item is in your refrigerator or freezer?

Eye drops.  Under-eye puffiness reducer.  Ice packs.  Face masks.

7. Are you at all superstitious?

Yes and no.  I believe that I bride should have something old and all that.  And I make the sign of the cross when I pass a cemetery where a funeral is going on or when I meet emergency personnel on their way to a call.  I used to have a little worry stone that I carried around for good luck on tests when I was in school.  But, I don't really believe that doing them or not doing them will change the outcome or bring bad luck or whatever.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm sure I'm completely alone in this, but I just feel like the last couple of weeks have been out to get me.  I've developed some kind of a persistent cold, I have something to do EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT., I just can't seem to get caught up on anything, things keep breaking.  The list can go on and on.  I know that I will get through it and I am trying not to complain (some days that goes better than others), but I'm just like "When will it end?"  Am I the only one?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why You Should Be Watching Parenthood

I love television.  And I don't buy into the idea that saying that outloud means you are fat or stupid, either.  (I mean, sure I'm a little fluffy but I don't think TV is who to blame.  I'm going with high caloric intake with a severe aversion to exercise.)  But anyway, I have one show that I love so much I don't even mind that it makes me do the ugly cry on a regular basis.  That show is Parenthood.

Now in its third season, Parenthood is loosely based on the 80's movie by the same name.  You have a large-ish crazy family all trying to just survive raising their young.  It operates very much in reality, in a "Have these people been listening from the closet?" sort of way that Friday Night Lights always did.  (Which shouldn't be surprising because they share some of the same people, namely Jason Katims, the executive producer of both shows.)  The show is funny and heartbreaking and superbly acted.  It has a large cast (including Lauren Graham, Peter Krause and Craig T. Nelson, to name a few), but it doesn't feel disjointed in the way some emsemble shows do.  (Looking at you, Grey's Anatomy.)

Anyway, if you haven't seen it, you should get with it!  Seasons 1 and 2 are available on DVD, and season 3 is airing Tuesday nights at 9 P.M. Central.  And not like I should really have to mention this to my HUGE reading audience, but nobody is paying me to say this.  Excellent writing like mine cannot be bought.  (BAH-hah-ha!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

To My "Babies,"

I don't have any children from my body, but I have several children of my heart.  They are the ones that I have watched go from squirrelly junior high babies to smart, capable high school graduates.  I am on my fifth cycle of watching 8th graders become seniors and it is humbling, heartbreaking, and amazing to watch.  So, this is my note to the ones who have come and gone and the ones who are yet to be...

Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be."  --Clementine Paddleford

Dreams are good and necessary.  They give you a direction and a set of goals.  But, please don't be so busy dreaming that you forget to do something about it.  Don't let someone else tell you that you can't or you won't either, especially someone who claims to love you.  Sometimes you have to let go of one dream to grasp something else, but let it be on your terms, not the beliefs and terms of others.

"The best way to try to motivate somebody is by being direct with them, to be honest with them.  Lies are never the right way to get your message across."  -Trey Parker and Matt Stone

Honesty really is the best policy, even when you don't want to be that person.  At the end of the day, you will be respected for speaking the truth in love, instead of being wishy-washy or sugar-coating it.  This doesn't, however, give you the license to say whatever pops into your head.  Just because you think it, doesn't mean it has to be expressed.  Truth is one thing, being intentionally hurtful is another.

“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”  -Carl Sagan

It really does all come down to love in the end.  You can never tell the people you love enough times that you really do love them.  Be sure to show them, too.  It's a big world out there, and finding a place to call home, whether that's where you grew up or with the people you meet along the way is the only way to survive it.  You may subscribe to the romantic idea of one great love out there for you, and I would never tell you different.  I may not have experienced it for myself but, I've seen enough to know that it exists.  My wish is that you find yours, but beyond that I wish that you find the place that you belong.

It seems there's one or two in every class.  Teachers aren't supposed to have favorites, but inevitably, it happens.  One of you comes in my room in tears about a classmate's comment or a relationship issue of one kind or another, and we talk, maybe even cry, and then hopefully laugh.  I am so lucky to have the job that I have and the opportunity to watch you reach the milestones of your life through high school and beyond.  (Thank you, Facebook!)  

With love,  
Ms. M

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Thursday List On Friday...

  • I went to see Miranda Lambert last night!  It was easily one of the best concerts I've been to in a long time.  (More on that later!)
  • However, the lack of sleep I got may mean that we are watching history videos in my class today.
  • Current items broken at my house:  the heating element in the over, the upstairs dryer, and my furnace.  Allow me to convey my thoughts in song:  "I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!  I'm about to spend money I don't really have and I don't like it..."
  • Tonight is Friday Night With Amber.  We are getting pizza and ice cream and watching Gilmore Girls.  And I couldn't be happier about that.
  • I'm in a bit of a scheduling dilemma this weekend.  I have a bunch of things I want to do, a bunch of things I need to do and no clue how it's all going to go down. 
  • One of those things is going to see the Footloose reboot this weekend with my mom.  I am a huge fan of the original and am hearing pretty good things about the remake, so I'm moving this firmly into the "gonna do it" column.  (Laundry, however?  The jury's still out.)
  • Did I mention that I only got five and a half hours of sleep last night? 
  • I have managed to only have to cook two nights this week.  This makes me so very happy, partly because I love not having to cook and partly because it meant that I could have items that weren't just prepared in the microwave or on the stove.
Look for posts about Miranda Lambert, my Footlose review, and lots of other goodies coming next week!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Movie Confession

You all should know by now that I love movies.  I have over 200 in my collection and am always looking for something else.  But I have to confess that there are many movies that are considered classics, or at least commonly referenced in pop culture, that I haven't ever seen.  Here's my running list thus far:
  • The Deer Hunter
  • Cinema Paradiso
  • Last Tango In Paris
  • Sophie's Choice
  • The Godfather
  • Broadcast News
  • October Sky
  • Love Story
  • Tootsie
  • Rocky
  • Chapter Two (which is a Pioneer Woman recommendation)
  • Norma Rae
  • Gone With The Wind
  • Annie Hall
  • Raging Bull
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • It Happened One Night
  • Harold and Maude
  • Citizen Kane
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • The Graduate
I also have a list of movies that I saw when I was younger (my parents were never particularly strict when it came to movies) and I really need to watch again because I am pretty sure I would see them differently as an adult:
  • Thelma and Louise
  • Parenthood
  • Casablanca
  • An Officer and a Gentleman
  • How To Make an American Quilt
  • Schindler's List
  • Moonstruck
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
This is by no means a complete list and I'm sure to keep adding to it.  The question is:  What are your must-see movies?  I would love to hear more suggestions in the comments!  I posted a list of some of my favorites here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Wedding and The Reception

Buckle down.  It's going to be a long one with mucho pictures.  If you missed the first installment, click here.  We had finally reached the big day!  (Art courtesy of official wedding photographer and old friend, David Michael Webb.)  Sheena, Sheena's mom, Crys, and I all went to see Jaime, who graciously agreed to still do our hair, even though she's a full-time art teacher and soon-to-be bride and not 'doing hair' anymore.  Visiting with her while she worked her magic on us definitely set a fun tone for the day!
This is her adorable pup, also named Katie, who was just so sweet sleeping in the window I couldn't resist sharing the picture!
Here's the bride all done up!  The only thing she was missing was her gorgeous dress and the groom!  I have to say that Sheena was quite seriously one of the most calm and relaxed brides I've ever seen.  We laughed and just generally had a good time the whole day.
A couple of things that Sheena and Ronnie chose to go a little more non-traditional on were 1) Having a photo book for guests to sign instead of just a regular guest book that you will put in a closet and never see again... (my SIL and brother did the same thing and it was such a sweet memory book)
and 2) have a peanut butter and jelly unity sandwich.  Stop laughing, I am totally not kidding!  (When I put this picture up on Facebook, people though it was something we did just for rehearsal.  Boy, were they surprised!)   It, like most everything with Sheena and Ronnie, started as a joke and grew into to something more.  It matched the humor and sweetness of the entire ceremony perfectly.
Here's the groom with his mama, who looked pretty darn fabulous for a woman who was not the bride!
The moms sharing a laugh before the ceremony.  I love this picture!  I think it looks like a still from their new sitcom--very Laverne and Shirley-esque.
Speaking of pictures I love--I have known these two since the day they were born and couldn't resist getting this shot!  The little socks sticking out and the basket between her was almost too much!
Here's the bride a few minutes before she became a Mrs.  We waited in the church office so that we could see everyone coming in though the little window in the door and so Sheena wouldn't have to navigate the stairs in her heels.  We have become masters at draping wedding dresses over folding chairs.
Since we had a little wait time, we taught the kiddos to make funny faces!  Not even this could keep them from being absolutely adorable!
After a some "I do's" and a little ring exchanging it was on to the reception!  Here's a glimpse of the wedding cake!  It tasted even better than it looked!
And a few shots of the party and the party people!  Crys and I took this of ourselves.  I discovered the secret to a good self-portait is long arms.  (Which I do not have and explain so much about so many bad pictures from my past!)

The bride and her little brother
Dancing the night away
The groom serenaded his bride with a little "Don't Stop Believing."  It was one of the evening's highlights!  I had a bunch of pictures from it but here are two of my favorite!

The crowd looks on in wonder and hilarity...
Casey, accomplished cook and emphatic dancer.
"Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting..."
Mama and youngest son dancing. 
All in all, it was an excellent weekend.  Now all we had left was packing up the gifts and saying goodbye...

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 10/19

1. How do you typically react in a sudden, extreme, pressure-filled crisis? Would we want you nearby in an emergency?

I am actually pretty good in an emergency as long as I don't think too much about what is happening.  My first year of teaching I walked out of my classroom door and into a fight between two large 8th graders.  One kid got his chin split open, and I was fine until after the situation was dealt with and then I was pretty freaked out. 

2. Caramel apple-caramel sundae-caramel corn-caramel macchiato...of the four, which carmel treat would you choose?

Caramel apple or caramel corn.  I can totally leave the other two.

3. Is there such a thing as destiny? Explain.

Such a tricky little question.  I believe that God has a plan for our lives.  Some people might call that destiny, but I don't really know that it's the same thing.  Opinions?  Thoughts?

4. What's your favorite piece of furniture? I'm referring to something currently in your possession as opposed to something on your wish list.

I love my big couches.  I also have a bookshelf that belong to my maternal great-grandmother and while it needs a little TLC before I use it, it's neat to have something with some family history.

5. Wednesday night marks the start of the 2011 Baseball World Series. Did you know? Do you care? Will you be watching? Ever been to a professional baseball game? If you're not an American do you find the title 'World Series' annoying or amusing?

I definitely know and care about the World Series because my family members are huge St. Louis Cardinals fans.  I have been to several games, all at the old Busch Stadium, and there's just nothing like the energy of St. Louis baseball.  I will probably be watching, but even if I don't, I'm sure that my news feed will be burning up with updates from all my Cardinal-loving friends!

6. A sound that takes me back to my childhood is___the sound of waves on the beach_________.

We took a lot of family vacations to the beach.  My mom always said it's the place where she's the happiest and I totally get that because I am the same way.

7. On average, once you've linked your hodgepodge post to mine how many other participant blogs do you visit? Do you ever come back to the Hodgepodge later in the day or even the day after to read posts?

I usually don't have a chance to read the posts when I link up in the morning, but I do try to come back and visit and comment on at least a few others who have linked up.  I also try to visit people who comment on my blog posts.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Tomorrow night I am going to see Miranda Lambert live and in concert and I can hardly wait!!  She's one of my favorite performers and I've never gotten to see her until now!  And I get to go with my mama and sister!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Details, The Set Up, and The Rehearsal Dinner

The Wedding Story:  Volume I:  On Thursday night, we met up to decorate the church.  Because there were already gorgeous fall decorations out, we didn't have to do much.  The guys did have to put together the canopy thing, which I promise was even though it doesn't look like it in the following picture. 
We added a few leave and some paper flowers and we were good to go.  As a bonus, we got to have one last trip to DQ together after leaving the church, which was always kind of a family tradition.

On Friday, we decorated the reception venue.  Aunt Sandy had put together some of the most beautiful flower arrangements for the tables (28 of them in all, including cornucopeias, plate arrangements, and wicker pumpkins.)  It didn't very long to set the tables and get everything ready for the big day.
No real signifcance, just pretty
Looking down the head table.
This also seems like a good place to talk about Sheena's bouquet.  She's shown it on her blog too, but even though I had my doubts about how it would turn out, Aunt Sandy knew best!  I loved all the brooches, the flower base, and the feathers.  It was one of the most beautiful bouquets I've seen, and I've been to a lot of weddings.
Here's Sheena and Crys at the reception hall.  Don't they look fabulous for having no makeup on?  This is one of my favorite pictures from the weekend.

 I was a little busy during the actual rehearsal, so mu pictures weren't all that great.  But I did take a few at the rehearsal dinner.  We ate at one of our favorite local places, BHG, and it was spectacular as usual.  Debbie, mother of the groom, gave a toast that made us all tear up (sort of a weekend theme) and then gave us all buckeyes, saying that every time we saw it, we should say a little prayer for the newlyweds in Ohio. 

Here's part of the room enjoying the fabulous food and even better company.  It was such a warm and happy night!
Here's to the happy couple!
The bride (with a photo bomb from the groom) with the world's cutest flower girl and ring bearer (twins)!  Just wait until you see them all dressed up tomorrow!

Two on Tuesday: My Favorite Restaurants

2 on Tuesday

This week, Andrea asked about our two favorite restaurants, and instead of chains I wanted to pick a couple of local places that I really love. 

My first is a place called Flamingo Row.  It started as a bakery, then moved to a bigger place and added a restaurant, and then moved again to their very own building.  It's a bit of a trek to get over there for me, but it is totally worth the drive!  They have island-inspired food, and the best homemade bread.  My very favorite dish there is the Bamboo Stick.  It's bread stuffed with carmelized onions and cheese, with marinara and garlic buter dipping sauce.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

The second is BG's Olde Tyme Deli.  This place and I go back to when I was little, maybe four or five.  Going there was a treat for when I had been good at the doctor or during my short-lived stint in gymnastics.  I can clearly remember watching Footloose (the original) there on the in-house TVs (they were probably one of the first places I remember having TV, now almost everyone does).  They still play great movies there and it makes me smile.  My favorite dish there are the potato skins.  I've never had any quite the way they do theirs!  Oh, the cheese!

I like chains just as much as the next girl, but there's something special about making the trip to a one-of-a-kind restaurant!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Movie Review Double Feature: 50/50 and Courageous

Weekend before last, I spent most of my time at the movies, except I kind of forgot to write about it.  So, indulge me for a minute. 

On Friday, Amber and I went to see 50/50.  Now, I will be the first to admit that I wasn't initially excited about this movie.  The trailer looked too depressing, and I can remember looking at Amber in whatever summer movie it aired during and saying as much.  However, I happened to catch the writer, Will Reiser, and the cast on Anderson Cooper one afternoon.  Turns out, I was wrong.  The story was actually pretty funny for a movie about cancer, and I felt a lot better after watching the interviews because Reiser wrote it about his real struggle and he was still alive to tell about it.  I'm not usually a huge Seth Rogen fan, but since he was essentially playing himself (Reiser is his real-life friend), I didn't mind.  And Joseph Gordon-Levitt remains one of my favorites.  It was definitely worth seeing!  (And Anna Kendrick's character is basically how I would imagine Amber as a therapist.  We laughed about that as much as the movie itself!)  I give it three out of four completely arbitrary stars.

On Sunday, Mom, Lulu and I went to see Courageous.  I'm going to say something here that not everyone will agree with (and that's okay), but I really was not excited about seeing this movie.  I went because I wanted to spend time with my family, not because I was just dying to see this film in the theaters.  Generally, I feel that Christian movies are often not very good, quality-wise.  This one was better, I will admit, but it still felt a little openly manipulative at times.  These movies, because they tend to have a much smaller budget, also sometimes have the feel of it being a film student's final project and not a major motion picture.  Amber would probably be able to give a name for the technical issues, but I don't have much experience on that side, sort of having watched a lot of movies.  This felt like a great step the right direction though, as far as quality goes.  I want there to movies with Christian themes, however, I would also like them to be really great movies.  Overall, Courageous was very good, if a little scattered.  The plot meandered some, and it felt long at points, but I also have a pretty short attention span.  The message, however, was incredible.  We need more men to be godly men of honor, especially when it comes to fatherhood.  I see the need for it every single day. 

I have several movie or entertainment related posts planned whenever I am not talking wedding this week and next.  Ideas have been popping up everywhere, and I can't wait to share them with you all!

A Sneak Peek

I haven't had a chance to put my thoughts together from this weekend yet.  It was as perfect as it was bittersweet.   But, I can give you a little sneak peek of the bride...

More details to follow this week.  I promise.  Meanwhile, you can click here to hear from the bride herself.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Happy Wedding Day!

In just a few short hours, these two crazy kids will finally be husband and wife!  (Only took almost 10 years!)  Wishing you a lifetime of happiness!

Look for plenty more to come this week!  It will be filled with all the fun and some of the gorgeous little details!

Friday, October 14, 2011

To Sheena, On The Day Before Your Wedding:

Dear Friend,

It's really here.  All this time spent waiting, not just through your engagement but those years before that, and your day has finally come.  It will be perfect and beautiful, even if not a single thing goes as planned, because you are marrying the man you are supposed to be with.  (But here's hoping that it's those things because everything goes right, okay?)
Try to imagine a dress and veil here...
Up until this point it hasn't seemed real.  That's how I've kept it together through the fittings and the shopping and the showers, because this day was still a long way off.  It's easier to deal with things when it's some date in the future and not tomorrow.  It's not your wedding that has me all messed up, of course.  It's what happens after, when the prince comes and sweeps you off to the magical land of Ohio.  That I have a problem with.  I'm on board with how it's where God is clearly showing you're supposed to be.  My issue is that it's entirely too far away from me.  Who will go to get cookies with me in the middle of a summer afternoon?  Who will sing all the Broadway songbook with me in the car on the way there?  How in the world do I begin to fill that kind of a void?  That's the part I find so unfair. 

Oh, the DM photo shoots...the ultimate one being tomorrow.
To say that I will miss you seems like the understatement of the year.  You are a sister of the heart, one of the big sisters that God didn't give me through biology but through His Grace and perfect timing.  And while I know that you will still be a huge part of my life (thank you, Al Gore for the internets!), I also know that it won't ever be quite the same.  Life moves on at what I am finding to be an alarming rate, and that means changes, like it or not.  (Let me go on the record as being in the not camp on this one.)  But what I am finding is that these changes make all the times we have had that much sweeter. 

If ever a photo was to describe the real us...
Who could forget some of the crazy things our 'cord of three' have gotten ourselves into?  We've sang together in some unbelievable circumstance, some for their hilarity and some for the bigness of the God that brought us together.  There are stories I can't wait to share with the next generation, and a few that we should probably keep to ourselves.  But, at the heart of the matter, is how much I love you and how happy I am for you and how much I am going to miss you.  I can't wait for the events of the next three days and at the same time, I hope they go by so slowly. 

With all my heart,