Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 11/30

1. Do you send Christmas cards? If so about how many will you send this year? How do you display the cards you receive? Or don't you? (gasp!)

I don't send Christmas cards.  I know that's probably horrible, but it's just me and I don't have a lot of far-flung family and friends.  Plus, besides the cat, what would it be a picture of, because it's certainly not going to be of me!  I do put up the cards I receive, though, which aren't really all that many.  Perhaps I've discovered why the post office has so many issues...

2. When do kids become adults?

Kids become adults when they are responsible enough to make their own decisions.  For some people, that's earlier than for others.  For most people, I would say when they are an upperclassmen in high school or when they have started college, but I have known some people who weren't really ready at that goal line.  However, if your child is 20 and you still pack their bags for an overnight trip, you may have a problem.

3. Does your 'beauty regimen' change with the seasons?

Yep.  My skin is an issue all of the time, but winter is especially bad.  I have to use thicker moisturizers and better quality products in general to make it through.  I also have to change my hair products because something that works in the winter may not be okay with the summer's humidity.

4. What's something you like to eat that might cause another person to turn up their nose?

When I was a kid, my grandma used to make MP crackers.  You take a saltine and put a marshmallow on it and stick it in the oven until it starts to melt, then top it with another saltine with peanut butter on it.  It's one of my favorite things, but I know some people who think it's kind of weird.  I also really like to eat a still-frozen french fry or five.  (I know, there's something wrong with that.  That's not breaking news, trust me!)

5. Gloves or mittens?

Gloves, when I remember to actually wear them.

6. What's the longest queue you've ever been in? Was it worth it? Queue=line but doesn't queue sound nicer?

I like queue, as well!  Anyway, I really had to think about this one.  I don't stand in line that often.  It would probably be at DisneyWorld for one of the rides.  In which case, it was totally worth it!

7. Besides Christmas, what is one thing you are looking forward to in the month of December?
December is full of all kinds of fun things other than Christmas.  Here's a list (because I love them!):
  • Amber's Ugly Christmas Sweater Birthday Wine Trail Event
  • Mel (and Miss M's) baby shower
  • The Pink Out (our district puts on a special event to raise money for a scholarship for a teacher who lost her battle with breast cancer last year)
  • Lulu's 21st Birthday Party
  • New Year's Eve/Matt's Birthday

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I have such a fun weekend coming up!  A little shopping Friday night, birthday party for Amber Saturday and baby shower on Sunday---I can hardly wait!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2 On Tuesday: Christmas Traditions

2 on Tuesday

This week Andrea wants to know about our Christmas traditions.  I've been up since 3:30 AM for no apparent reason, so I figured now's as good a time as any, right?

My family is big on tradition, and my little sister is responsible for making sure that we don't miss a single one.  (She will remind us if we do, trust me.  But that in itself has become a Christmas tradition.)  On Christmas Eve, we go to my mom's side of the family and have Christmas.  It's always a little insane because that's the big side of my family so, depending on which kids, grandkids and great-grandkids are home it can be as many as 35 or so people.  We always bring lots of appetizers and desserts and the kids open presents and everybody visits and drinks the newest homemade wine.

When we leave, we go to my parents, where we open the presents from Mom and Dad.  This is usually two things, one of which will be pajamas.  This is also when my parents open their gifts from us.  Then, we go into the family room and stay up to mock the local choirs on TV (which may not sound festive, but totally is) and then wait for Mom to put out the stuff from Santa.  Yes, we are all in our 20s or now 30s (yikes!), but Mom loves surprising us with goodies.

Christmas Day, my dad's side comes over to my parents' and we do the whole thing over again.  And then, I usually go and visit Crys and now Sheena's family because Crystal's parents' house is where everyone who has come in for the holidays seems to congregate after their family stuff is over.

What are your family's traditions?  Leave a comment or join us over at Andrea's blog!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Monday!

This week is going to be brutal because it's the first full week I've worked since the end of October.  Poor, poor pitiful me, I know.  Good news is there are only two more Mondays after today that I will be working in 2011.  Where did the year go?

I was a total blog failure and didn't take a single picture during Thanksgiving.  We had so much to be thankful for, especially for my Uncle James who making a great recovery.  He is able to be without oxygen for hours at a time, and considering how sick he was, that's huge.  We had two big family dinners, I didn't go Black Friday shopping, and pretty much spent the rest of the vegging out.  Oh, and then there were the cake pops.  I got my sister a cake pop maker for Christmas and it's pretty awesome (and yummy)!

I can't believe it, but I am almost done with my Christmas shopping already.  However, I have seriously amped up my baby-related shopping for my niece, The Divine Miss M.  Her baby shower is this Sunday.  Let's just say Aunt Katie is going a little bit crazy!  But I'm loving every minute of it! 

That's enough rambling for now, but let me hear about your holiday in the comments! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 11/23

1. Let's start with something controversial...dressing or stuffing? What's it called at your house and what's included in your recipe...cornbread? oysters? sausage? chestnuts?

It's called dressing.  My grandma makes two dishes of it, one drier and one a little wet.  It does not have cornbread, oysters, sausage or chestnuts.  And it is something I am already dreaming about...

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?

I try hard not to compare myself with anyone, but that doesn't always work.  It seems like women are way worse about the comparison game than men.  I tend to compare myself to my friends, to people I went to high school with, to other bloggers.  I wonder if I am missing something or on the right path.  I think of how I could be thinner, be more organized, try harder.  And sometimes this comparison is good and spurs me on to new things.  And sometimes, it's not.  But I am learning to take the good, leave the bad, and love myself either way.

3. When were you last inside an airport?'s been a while since I have flown anywhere.  I think the last time I was in an airport may have been in 2006 when I went to DC.  I don't really remember another time, and I have done most of my traveling by car since then.  (In fact, we are already gearing up for the 5th Anniversary of the All Girls Road Trip heading to Virginia this summer!)

4. What is one side dish that absolutely must be included in a turkey dinner?

Mashed potatoes is the very first thing that came to mind.  Homemade rolls would be a very close second.

5. What Christmas song do you dread hearing?

"Christmas Shoes," which is hands-down the worst Christmas song ever.  This song does nothing but make me cry.  And they aren't happy tears, either--we're talking big, fat, ugly sobs.  And Christmas should make you happy, end of story.

6. If someone approaches you and asks for money do you give it to them? Do you drop money 'in a tin cup' that belongs to a person on the street? Do you have a specific charity you support during the holiday season and/or year round?

I live in a very rural area, so it's rare to have some approach you for money, like I saw in New York or other larger cities.  I think that sometimes it's better to go get them something, food or a warm blanket than to put money in a cup, but I suppose it depends on the situation.  I don't have a charity that I support all year long.  What I have found myself trying to do, especially with working in a high poverty school system is to try to find ways to help in disguise.  Last year, I had the opportunity to play Santa to several families and while the coordination sometimes stressed me out, it was so worth it to know that kids would have Christmas under the tree.  The big organizations are good and help many people, but I like keeping it personal, too.

7. Share a favorite Thanksgiving memory. If you live in a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving share a favorite memory associated with food.

Every year, I would (and still do) wake up early and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  the performances at the beginning were as close as I would get to seeing a real Broadway show most years, and there was just something magical about the whole thing.  When Lib was older she grew to appreciate it, too.  In fact, we have been known to call each other while getting ready to talk about the parade before I head over for lunch.

8. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!!  And a Merry Black Friday to all the shoppers out there, which does not include me!  I hope you have a day filled with love and delicious food and I can't wait to hear all about them next week!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2 On Tuesday: Thankful

2 on Tuesday

It's that time of year, but I should probably be taking stock of all I have to be thankful for more than just the week of Thanksgiving.  I am so ridiculously blessed!  And I don't say that to brag, but because when I look around this house and when I think about my life, I just can't believe how blessed I really am.

One of the things I am most thankful for is the blog community.  My blog has gotten me in a little bit of trouble lately with some people, but blogging is by far one of the best decisions I have ever made.  When I feel like I am the only person in the world struggling with an issue, there have always been people to say they are praying or that they understand because they find themselves in the same type of situation.  Realizing you are not the only single girl in the world is pretty awesome.  I know that there are trolls out there, but I have never really had a bad experience.  I am thankful for every ounce of love and encouragement I have received. 

On top of that, I get to glimpse into others' lives as well.  I've been a people watcher all my life, which is basically a first cousin to the blogosphere.  I certainly haven't met everyone I read, but I have gotten to know a few of you, and that's been a lot of fun!  Blogging started as a way for me to get out the things that were on my mind.  It was my therapy in the rough patches, and those posts serve as encouragement to me now.  It's the ultimate reminder of where I've been and where I am, and just who has been traveling along with me. 

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Let The Games Begin!

I haven't done a weekend recap in a while, but this weekend provided a lot to blog about (not that I have pictures to show for it, of course!).  Let's start at the top....

Friday night, I met up with Amber for dinner as per the usual.  We had lots to talk about since we hadn't met up for a couple weeks!  We then joined up with more friends and went to hear our favorite local band play.  It has been a long time since I laughed as hard as I did that night!  The band was great, but the company was better.

Saturday, I got up bright and early (which was a little painful since I didn't get in until 2 AM), for a day at the craft fair with Mom, LuLu, and Mel (my SIL).  We hit the show right as the doors opened and 10:00, and spent the entire day there, leaving around 5:00.  Of course, we did break for lunch, as there are some things more serious than shopping!  I actually got part of my Christmas shopping done, which is a rarity, since I am one of those people still buying things the week of.  It was nice to just hang out with my family and to buy things for my niece (due this January!).  I will try to post some pictures this week of some of the goodies that aren't Christmas presents.  We got some great things, but after a lot of consideration, we decided that maybe we should open our own craft booth.  (Half serious, half joking.  Stay tuned...)

Sunday, I went to the church I talked about last week (in the post that caused a serious uptick in local readers), and loved it yet again.  When I am there, I am sure that I am in the right place.  This week, LuLu joined me and I think she felt the same way.  It feels so good to be excited about church again, and with the changes going on in this particular congregation, it's plain that we are on the ground floor of something big.  I can't wait to see what God is going to do!

And tonight marks my favorite time of the year--the start of the high school basketball season!  For as long as I can remember, basketball has played a big part in my life.  I never played, as I have a serious coordination deficit.  But, I remember being in first and second grade, maybe younger, and going to games all the time (of course, I went to play dolls with my friends at the time, but you get the idea).  Of course, I went once I was in junior high and high school, social butterfly that I am.  By the time I graduated, my brother was playing, and by the end of that, I was teaching.  To me, basketball marks the start of the holidays and ultimately the winter.  And though it's my best kept secret, I'm very much a sports junkie.  With so much talk about the corruption in the college game, there's just something special about the pure sport at the high school level.  Plus, it's a place where being loud is mostly encouraged, which is always a plus for me.

All this and it's a two-day work week!  I can hardly stand it!  What did you do this weekend?  Anything fun?  Tell me all about it in the comments!

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Deer Day Already?

So, today's the first day of shotgun deer season and I don't have to work.  Sometimes being a teacher in a rural district has definite perks.  And how did it get to be the middle of Novemeber? 

Anyway, this gives me a three-day weekend, and unless something really great happens, I have decided that I will spending it away from the blog.  Rest my brain (because obviously this is sooo taxing...ha!) and get some plans together for next week.  And watch daytime TV.  You know, the finer things.   So, I will be back on Monday to tell you about Girls' Night Out, the craft fair, and whatever else the weekend holds!  I know you can hardly wait.  (And we all know that I may break this self imposed vacation at any time should I find myself with something to say or an hour to kill...)

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pop Culture Round-Up

Normally on Thursdays I make a list, but since I am a little low on list material with everything going on this week, I decided we would take a short stop over for a little entertainment news.  I know that I shouldn't care about this stuff, that there are wars and economic issues and people occupying things, but sometimes you just need something that is so light it's ridiculous.  So, consider this your dose for the day...

Kancel the Kardashians? -  There is a petition going around that the E! Network should stop airing shows about the Kardashian family.  I would say that I'm all for it, but then who would I mock?  I'm not a huge reality TV fan anyway, and I don't watch their shows (unless I'm with Amber), but I could do with a little less K-Dash in my life.  Also, please stop using the letter K in words that do not begin with one.  Thanks!

Justin Bieber is NOT the Father! Or maybe he is? -- Originally, it was reported yesterday that Justin's accuser was going to drop her paternity suit.  Maybe we will still get a Maury-style moment for the big reveal, but it would seem that Justin's accuser hasn't fully realized that, if her claim proved true, she could be prosecuted.  If I were his publicist, I would have disbatched this mess already, but here's hoping that Justin can get back to making mid-grade pop music soon without all the drama.

Bradley Cooper named People's Sexiest Man Alive - I think he's really handsome with his icy blue eyes and his day-old stubble, but for me this came out of nowhere.  Has he really had a better year than the also delictible Ryan Gosling?  I mean, did you see Crazy, Stupid, Love?   His abs alone should elevate his status, forget when he's all smoldery and awesome!  This issue is probably one of my favorite all year, because there's nothing as much fun a page after page of eye candy. 

Adele feeling good after throat surgery  - She's one of my favorite singers ("Someone Like You" is practically a personal anthem), but she's been downed with a hemmoraged vocal chord.  This has to be so scary to someone with such huge talent, but she's tweeting that she's feeling great and the doctors believe she will be back and better soon! 

Breaking Dawn cometh -- I don't mean to knock on the Twi-hards, but I couldn't be any less enthused about the release of this movie.  There must be something to it, because people I love and respect are all freaking out over it, but I'm just not that into it.  The only part I really get is the whole Taylor Lautner is a big hunk of man candy part, and even that feels a little sketchy to say because I could have taught him in junior high.  I am saving my excitement for when this craze is finally over...

What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?  I know I'm not the only one.  Share your thoughts, opinions, thankfulness the week is almost over in the comments!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 11/16

1. What song reminds you of a specific time in your life and what is it about that song that makes you remember?

I'm a song person, so there are many different ones that go with different times in my life, but the very first one that comes to mind is "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack.  Back a million years ago when Crys worked for a radio station, she shared this song with us before we had ever heard it on the radio.  We were part of a close-knit group in college and with most graduating, it felt like the perfect theme song for the moment.  I will never forget sitting there in my parents' living room, listening to that song together.  It was such a sweet memory.

2. What's something you've given up on?

I've given up on trying to please everyone.  It's just not going to happen, and that's hard for me to admit because I am a people pleaser by nature.  But, at the end of the day, as long as God and I are good on what is going on, the rest doesn't really matter.   When are worrying about pleasing God, the rest works itself out.

3. What's something you'll never give up on?

I really had to think about this question.  I think that I will never give up on trying to see the good in people.  I let my mouth get the best of me sometimes, but I really do believe that most people have good intentions.  I get that sometimes it's really hard to find, but when you pay attention sometimes life can really surprise you.  That moment where your expectations of someone are turned on their head for the good is so sweet!

4. If you had to cook something from scratch in the next hour what would it be?

Assuming my oven was working (which right now it's not) it would be lasagna because that sounds so good right now!!!

5. Have you started Christmas shopping? Decorating? Listening to Christmas music?

I have not started shopping, though we are going to the craft fair this weekend, so maybe I will start then.  I'm a traditionalist in that I don't decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but since I don't do Black Friday, that's probably when I will start digging through my decorations in storage.  It's also when I will start the Christmas music.  (Of which I have lots and deeply enjoy!)

6. What do you know about your parent's wedding?

My parents were married in 1976.  They were married at the local Catholic church and their reception was at my grandparents' house.  Mom's bridemaids each wore a different color pastel dress with a matching hat.  Mom wore a hat, too, instead of a veil.  It was a fantastic example of seventies' goodness.  (see below)

7. I can't believe I ____have been blessed enough to do some of the things I've been able to do____.

I forget that many of my students haven't been out of the tri-state, and I have been able to travel to all kinds of places.  I think about it until my students see my pictures or hear my stories, and get that dreamy look I used to get when someone talked about traveling.  Standing on a Broadway stage, sunbathing in San Juan, walking through our nation's capital all made me a better teacher because I can share my experiences with my students who haven't had those opportunities.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

This has been the craziest week.  Rollercoaster City, for sure.  But, I am doing my best to remember that God is still God and that He sees and He knows and He loves.  If you can embrace that, the rest is much easier to stomach.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2 On Tuesday: Pet Peeves

2 on Tuesday

This week, Andrea wants to know our pet peeves.  This is a list that could go on and on, but I am going to do my best to keep it to my top two. 

1.  People not watching their children in public - Nothing makes me crazier than when parents release their children on the public, but don't really watch them.  Now in some settings this okay or even expected, but not in all of them.  It's particularly annoying when they are destroying other people's stuff.  Or throwing wild fits.  It's all I can do to keep the teacher in me from taking control of the situation.

2.  Music boxes - Okay, so I don't know if this goes under a pet peeve or just a pure unadulterated hatred, but I cannot stand wind-up music boxes.  Even thinking about them gives a level of anxiety.  My grandma says that it stems from the lullaby toy they used to play to get me to go to sleep as a baby (I was terrible about sleeping until I was 3 or 4), but I'm not so sure.  All I know is that whenever one starts up, I have to get out of the room or I will lose it.  (Yeah, I know it's super weird.)

Can't want to see what everyone else has to say!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The One Where I Dream I'm Stephanie Plum

This has been sort of a heavy place to be this weekend!  Sorry, people.  Let's get back to my regularly scheduled programming of fluff and fun.  For starters, Melanie (Big Mama) is giving away an HP TouchSmart 320.  And it's awesome and I really, really want one!  If you want one, go there and enter too!  I'm all about sharing the wealth today!

Moving on...My mom and dad are both big fans of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books.  There's a movie coming out in January (and Mom really wants to see it).

I decided that before I go see the movie, I should see what all the fuss was about.  I read the first two books in record time and I am now on my third book, about to move into a fourth.  They are so much fun!  It's part comedy, part mystery, with a little bit of Moonlighting style romance.  I have no doubt this is what I will be reading as many of them as I can this winter (my parents have them all)!

However, it is starting to invade my subconscious a bit.  I don't know if it's because she's a little goofy and always seems to get herself into crazy situations or what, but I've started having dreams where I am the bounty hunter.  I woke up laughing at the thought!  I mean, last night's involved me solving a case in Chuck E. Cheese!  Perhaps this is my next career?  Anyway, I can take or leave all that part, though I would be thrilled to have my own Joe Morelli to spar with!

Do you have a series that you love to read?  Share in the comments.  (Although, if the answer is Twilight, don't feel obligated!  tee hee!)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

On Church...

I should be grading papers.  (I should always be grading papers.)  But, at this moment, I need to write.  Other than a mention here or there, I haven't really said much about finding a new church, other than I most certainly was doing so.  I don't feel like I owe anyone an explanation, but there are so many things bubbling over in me that I can't keep it to myself.  Today, I visited a church that had been on my list for a while, and I loved it.  I will be praying like crazy for God to show me exactly where He wants me, but I left church feeling happy and excited for the first time in a really long time. 

The sermon today was on Galatians 2:11-21.  It was exactly what my heart needed to hear.  Despite what some might think, my decision to leave the church that I have attended for the majority of my adult life (the last ten years), was not a flippant or easy one.  I have cried more tears over this decision than I did over my initial one to leave the Catholic church to pursue the opportunity to lead praise and worship.  I have so many warm and wonderful memories of services and of the people in that church, some of whom I love and will miss so deeply.  But it was time.

Ten years ago, when the girls and I were asked to lead worship, we prayed over it for a long time before we said yes.  God made it clear that it was where He was sending us, and it wasn't always an easy road in those earliest years.  But we grew and God blessed and our ministry was as good as any ministry with three stubborn and strong-willed women could possibly be.  I will never be able to sing a praise and worship song (or most any song) without longing to hear the harmonies of Sheena and Crys in my ears.  Even good things have a shelf life, however, and within the last couple of years due to many different things, it became clear that God was calling us to new things.  (And even to new places.)

I might have stayed where I was even after we stopped singing, but there were other circumstances, too.  (Aren't there always.)  It's rarely one big thing that forces our hand, but a thousand little things.  It took going somewhere else to realize just how dry my spirit was.  If I were honest with myself, I'd known that I hadn't been getting what I really needed for a long time.  But I am nothing if not the champion of rationalizations.  I kept thinking I would go after this happens, and when that came and went, I would draw a new line in the sand.  I'm not one of those people who relishes being out of my comfort zone.  And that's what I knew this move would require.  Leaving would hurt, but staying would be much worse.

At the end of the day, there are only a few things that truly matter.  For me, those things are honesty, integrity and respect, especially when you are talking about leadership.  I'd been through the loss of those things in my work environment once upon a time, and I knew that I couldn't survive the lack of those things in my church.  I didn't realize how close I came to losing it all spiritually, until I saw today that it can be different.  I don't want to play church.  I want to worship my Boss and my Rescuer (which the pastor said this morning, and I find a lot more personal than Lord and Savior).  I want to serve Him.  And I want to do that wherever He puts me. 

Update:  I've never done this on a post before, but I am closing the comments.  If you want to discuss something in this post, please feel free to email me at

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I wasn't going to post over the weekend.  I usually don't.  But tonight, I am really lonely, which is not an emotion I settle into all that often, believe it or not.  Generally, I don't give it a second thought.  My life is how it is, and it's not really all that bad.  But everyone once in a while, the wave of loneliness that has no real rhyme or reason comes, and being blindsided makes it that much worse.

I saw this on Pinterest and it struck a serious nerve:
That is exactly how I feel.  Just once.  Someone to have a Saturday night in with.  Someone to go with me to a wedding.  Someone to give me a hug after a really bad day at work, or a really good day, for that matter.  No matter how okay I am most of the time, on these days my heart aches to be married and to have a family and to think that I will never get those things, that I will never find that man, breaks my heart and makes me furious all at once.  And I'm not sure which is harder to deal with. 

Anyway, just trying to keep it real around here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

On Veterans Day

To those who have served...
Grandpa Chuck, US Army Air Corps

Bob E., US Marines

Grandpa Gus and James Kramer (a Navy photographer), US Navy

Junior E., US Army
 ...then and now...

Sawyer and Tim and out of uniform, at home and abroad,... 


Thank you. 

This Veteran's Day and always I am so thankful for all of the military members and their families.  They give of their time, their comfort, and some even give with their lives, so that we all may live in the freedom we enjoy.  Some are friends, some family, some former students--all of them are my heroes.  Nothing but love and gratitude today and always.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts...

  • I can't get enough of Miranda Lambert's new album, Four the Record.  And I can't wait to watch the CMAs that my dad DVR'd for me since I had to work the concession stand last night.
  • It's my Friday!  And even though I've only worked two days this week, a three-day weekend is always welcomed. 
  • This weekend is the weekend I get my house clean.  For sure.  Probably.  At the least, it's the weekend that I'm not going anywhere because I don't have any extra money after paying to have my furnace fixed.
  • I'm planning on visiting a church this weekend that may very well be my new home church.  It's a church that is doing some really great things, and I am looking forward to it very much!
  • I really need a new hairstyle.  And I have an appointment in a couple weeks, so suggestions are always appreciated.
  • Is it wrong that I am already looking forward to next weekend?  (Which is also a three-day weekend, because we don't have school on the first day of shotgun deer season.)  I have big plans with my girlies, including going to see our favorite local band! 
  • Does anyone else have bad/weird dreams if they get too hot when they are sleeping?  No?  Just wondering.  It's not like I do or anything.
  • It's finally gotten cold here. (yay!)  Now I get to spend the next few months whining about having to de-ice my car in the morning.  (boo!)
Okay, I think I am officially out of random thoughts.  If you have a random thought, feel free to share it in the comments!  I'm still trying to get around to everyone who has been commenting on my post recently.  I promise that if I haven't been to visit you, I will soon!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 11/9

1. Of all the tools and gadgets you own which do you most enjoy using?

     My iPod.  Hands down.  Don't know what I would do without music, and it's something that I truly do enjoy.  However, if it was which was more essential, it would have to be my cell phone, especially since I upgraded to one that does just about anything.

2. When (if ever) is impatience a virtue?

     I don't know when impatience is a virtue, but I figure whenever that happens, I will be first in line for it.  I have no patience when it comes to waiting for things, which is hilarious since it seems like I spend so much of my time waiting for something.  I will be anxious to see everyone else's answers on this one.

3. What temperature do you keep your thermostat set to in winter? Do you have another way to heat your house besides a furnace of some type?

     I keep my house pretty cool, probably 65 or so if I am the only one here.  If I am going to have company I will turn it up some so they don't freeze.  (Especially Lulu!)

4. Do/did you have a close relationship with any of your grandparents?

    I was so spoiled by my grandparents when I was a little girl, and I loved and adored them.  Both of my grandpas passed away the year I turned 16, but both of my grandmas are still alive.  I don't get to see them nearly as much as I would like, but I always enjoy visits with them when I do get to stop by.  I feel so blessed to have known them, because I know that a lot of people don't get that chance. 

5. When did you last have a family portrait taken?

    We had formal family portraits done in the fall before Matt and Mel got married.  Here are the kids (I don't have the one with Mom and Dad here!)
    We had some taken again at the wedding, of course.  (By my friends, Michael and Lauren!)  And this time we got to add in my new sister-in-law! 

6. What does the word patriotism mean to you?

     Patriotism is that feeling I get when someone does an amazing job on the National Anthem.  It's the pride I feel when I see a soldier in uniform.  It's watching scouts lead you in the Pledge with their hands in salute, like I saw this weekend at the Veteran's Day service.  It's even something as simple as reading the Declaration of Indepence or the Constitution with my class.  That feeling of pride in my country is something so special.

7. Do you like to play cards and if so, what's your favorite card game?

     I do play cards, though I haven't in a while.  My favorite game is definitely Texas Hold 'Em Poker.  I'm actually pretty good at it, even though I am out of practice.  I also really like to play Speed with my students when we have a free day.  They like to try to beat me.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

    I have completely become a Pinterest addict.  I love all of the creativity and ideas on there, and even if I never complete a single craft project, I am perfectly happy pinning ever last one!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

2 On Tuesday: My Christmas Wish List

2 on Tuesday

I'm trying to be less materialistic.  I really am.  But every girl should have a Christmas list!  And so, here's mine...


I have an embarassingly long list of movies and TVon DVD.  Don't believe me?  Here goes:

Bones Season 5
Grey’s Anatomy Season 7
Designing Women Season 4
One Tree Hill Season 7
Glee Season 2
Parenthood Season 2
Lipstick Jungle Season 2

How To Make An American Quilt
Troop Beverly Hills
Friends With Benefits

And that's probably not everything.  I haven't updated it in a while.  But I am the kind of girl who loves to put on a good movie again and again, and I do really like to see my collection all pretty on the wall of my office.

Lasagna Pan

I make one thing really well, and that's lasagna.  So I really want this pan to make it in.  (Thank you, Rachael Ray!)

iTunes Gift Cards

Nothing makes me happier than more music.  I can always find something else I want at the iTunes Store!  I mean, there's always a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff on my wish list.

If none of these appeal to you, I could always use a new car, a home renovation, or some jewelry.  I really like this.  (Talk to me, Harry Winston...)

But what I really want for Christmas is to get to hang out with all the people that I love, for everyone to get along, and to have a healthy niece born in January.  That's better than a diamond ring any day.  (Well, mostly.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Because Sometimes I Forget To Show You The Pictures...

It's Monday.  And as we all know, Monday's are hard.  (Even Mondays after "falling back.")  Instead of rambling on about my weekend, which was actually pretty quiet, I'm going to show you some of the photos I haven't shared with you because remembering to load pictures off your camera is hard, people!  :) 

Here are a few from my 30th birthday.  First up, are Casey and Amber...
And Sheena and Crys
And me in a breathtaking self-portrait.  I had forgotten how light my hair was before I died it (twice).
All the girls....
Revealing their true selves...
One of the local wineries has the sweetest Great Pyrenees that roams around and greets the patrons.  Here's Casey giving him a hug...
Obviously, he's thrilled.
Here are a couple more gems from the weekend of Sheena and Ronnie's wedding.  We met for lunch and to watch them open presents the day after the wedding.  There was leftover cake involved.  Here are the siblings...
And this was one of the coolest wedding presents ever.  Okay, maybe not ever, because sometimes people get houses or cars or stuff, but it's one of the neatest things I've seen.  A friend of theirs dates an artist who made them a one-of-a-kind statue, Sheena and Ronnie as Superman and Lois Lane!  I wish I would have gotten a close up, but you get the idea.
Here's another pictuer of me, sporting yet another hair color.  October was hard on the hair follicles.  I also have signifcantly less hair than this now. 
And here is one of Mom and Dad's new outside cats.  I think this one is named Butch.  (They have two that look almost exactly alike.)  But isn't he the sweetest thing ever?
Have a great Monday!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Kelly's Show Us Your Life: Non-Mom Bloggers

If you are stopping by for the first time from Kelly's--this is for you.  If you come here often, please hold....

Even though most of the bloggers I read are mom bloggers, I am certainly not one.  I'm a single, 30 year-old Midwestern middle school teacher with a love for pop culture, pretty things, and most recently a Pinterest addict.  I love photography, music and going out on the wine trail with my friends.  I love God and am saved by Jesus Christ, but am in the process of finding a new church home after leading worship with two of my favorite people for almost ten years.  (When God says go, you go, right?)  I like books, movies and beaches!  Nothing makes me feel more at peace than the sand and wave, which is funny since I've lived nowhere near beaches my entire life.

While I have love and respect for all the bloggers I have "met,"  I'm excited at the idea of connecting with some who are maybe more like me (God help you!)  For instance, being single used to scare me, but it just doesn't anymore.  I have lived on my own entirely too long, and it's going to take someone special to get my attention.  I am totally open to the idea that he's out there, somewhere, and at the right time he will turn up, but I think I am finally in the place where I will be okay if that's not how it goes.  Anyone else feel me on that?

I plan on checking in on the posts over at Kelly's, but I would love to hear from you in the comments, too.  Even if it's just "Hi and come check out my blog!"  I'm not picky!  I can't wait to meet you!

And as for the rest of you----I'm thisclose to getting my act together.  (Which means you should be watching the horizon for some horsemen. The end is near.)   Which means you should expect a whole new slate of posts next week, some with 30% more pictures!  I can't wait!   Thanks for always being a loyal and awesome audience, even when I am lame and whiny.  XO!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Movie Review: Footloose

I have been looking forward to seeing this movie since I saw the first trailer at the beginning of the summer if for no other reason than morbid curiousity.  The original Footloose was one of the first movies I remember seeing (I was maybe five) and I have loved it ever since.  I was ready to hate the new version if it wasn't respectful of the "real" one.  Thankfully, I had no reason to be concerned. 

Judged on its own merits the Footloose reboot was a good movie, but judged against the original it holds up just as well, which was a pleasant surprise.  Kenny Wormald was a good fit for Ren, better even than some of the previous candidates might have been (Zac Efron and Chace Crawford were both attached to the role at one point).  And while I doubted that a Footloose without the guiding hand of original choreographer, Kenny Ortega (who was set to helm the reboot), would work, it did.  Julianne Hough was sweetly vulnerable as good-girl-goes bad, Ariel, proving that she might just be as good of an actress as she is a dancer.  Dennis Quaid, while much more aesthetically pleasing than John Ligthgow, also holds his own as Rev. Shaw Moore.

They did update the plot a little (they now race school buses instead of tractors), and they altered a few of the scenes, but overall the reboot is simply a homage to the original's finer moments.  Ren still dances away his rage in unnecessary, choreographed perfection.  Ariel still has red boots and a penchant for rebellion after the death of her brother.  They drop some of the discussion of censorship that the original touched on and the dancing is a little more, shall we say, intense.  It's obvious that this one is intended to be a little more of a romp than its predecessor, and it's so much fun that you don't even mind.  I give it four out of four completely arbitrary stars!  (But look, so did Entertainment Weekly!  And check out the Rotten Tomatoes score here.)

My favorite moment from the new movie was actually musical in nature.  During a scene, a song started to play, and my sister and I immediately looked at each other and asked, "Who is that?"  Ella Mae Bowen's cover of "Holding Out For A Hero" is outstanding, and I willingly paid $10.99 for the soundtrack on iTunes just so I could have that song.  It is slow and aching and just beautiful.  The rest of the soundtrack isn't much to write home about, but you should definitely check out this song!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 11/2

1. Who taught you how to cook?
Bah-hah-hah-ha!  I'm not a good cook at all, and I'm not sure who gets the blame for that.  No one really taught me how to cook formally.  My mom and dad both have their speciality dishes, and my grandmas do too.  (This weekend, my mom made an crumb-top apple pie that was SO delicious that just reliving eating it makes me smile!)  I have probably learned as much from my friends and from cooking shows as anywhere else.  But I am not exactly a wealth of knowledge.

2. Have you been told you think too much? Are too much of a perfectionist? Are too sensitive? Were they right?
I am not a deep thinker.  In fact, sometimes I worry that I don't put enough thought into my decisions.  I am also not a perfectionist.  I want things to be done well if I am in charge, but I am willing to accept that sometimes close enough works.  I am probably as little too sensitive, though.  I tend to take things to heart, even if they weren't really directed at me.  (This goes all the way back to childhood.  I used to cry when other kids got spankings.)

3. As a child did you have a favorite blanket or toy? Tell about it.
I had a favorite blankie that had a rabbit face and ears and a little blanket for a body.  In fact, I talked about it in this post for 2 on Tuesday not that long ago!

4. What 'institution' do you have the most faith in?
I think marriage.  And when I say that, I'm not talking about the Hollywood kind, which are really more about the wedding and less about the marriage (Looking at you, Kim K. and Kris!).  I'm talking about the relationships that outlast the hard, overcome the sad, and make happy look like the best thing out there.  My grandparents had that, my parents and aunts and uncles, too.  I know it exists.  And if I ever join that particular institution, I will join it wanting no less.

5. Chrysanthemums-pansies-burning bush-ornamental cabbage...your favorite in an autumn garden?
I love pansies!  I think they are so pretty.  It helps that they are hearty too, because I have a tendency to kill anything that flowers.

6. What superpower do the kids in your neighborhood seem to posses?
 Well, there aren't really a lot of kids in my neighborhood.  My house isn't really on that kind of block.  And as far as the kids in my life this week, I don't know what power they have, but it is totally fueled by candy!  :)

7. Are you a fan of the cranberry?
I used to hate cranberries, but I have learned to like them.  I enjoy craisins.  I also really like cranberry juice, but if I were being completely honest I like it better when it's dressed up and served in a cocktail glass.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Thank you for all your sweet thoughts last week!  I am feeling a lot better.  Overwhelmed seems to come in waves.  This week, I'm trying to take things in stride a little better, even when I found out that the repair to my furnace is going to be expensive.  Things could always be worse.  And sometimes perspective is all we need.  (And love and encouragement from a bunch of great bloggers!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2 on Tuesday: Halloween Costumes

2 on Tuesday

Tell me your 2 favorite Halloween costumes! Did you celebrate Halloween this year?

I was the kind of kid who was always playing dress-up, so I don't necessarily have a lot of difference between what was a halloween costume and what wasn't.  But I will gladly show you a few pictures.  This one is of my first Halloween where I was big enough to participate (about 13 months).  I like how unsure I look about all of this business.
If I were to pick a favorite costume, I would have to say it was this one.  I was Cyndi Lauper, circa 1985 (which made me five).  My mom cut the wig, I got to wear makeup and fishnets, and I don't even look skanky.  (Take note, child costume makers!) 
And this is your bonus picture, not because I was a particularly good clown (this was before Mom did the face painting), but because all I really remember about that year was that when my little brother saw me in my costume (his matched), he was so scared of it, Mom left him at Grandma's while I trick-or-treated.  (He was only two, so there wasn't a lot of psychological scarring or anything from not getting to go!)

 As far as this year, I celebrated the traditional way--you know, passing out candy to kindergarteners in the hallway before their costume parade and then going to a junior high basketball game last night.  I'm kind of over the whole costume thing, so this made for a perfectly lovely evening.  Both teams even won!  I do have to say that I can't wait until next year when my niece will be here and in costume!