Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Okay Thursdays

I haven't joined in the fun for a few weeks, so I think it's time to get back on the wagon.  If you feel so inclined, write your own post of self-affirmations and link up over at Amber's blog by clicking on the button below!

Its Ok Thursdays

It's Okay....

  • ...that when I was feeling super crappy this week and medicine was making my heart race, my first thought was "I can't go to the hospital because it's been a while since I shaved my legs and if I have to wear a gown, Lord help us all!"
  • whine on the blog every once in a while, or so my commenters on that post reminded me!  (But I promise to keep it to a minimum!)
  • ...that dinner and bedtime happened in the same (early) hour last night.
  • be relieved when plans change to something decidedly more relaxed for the weekend.
  • ...that I'm more excited about what my niece may be getting for Christmas than in what I may be getting for Christmas!
  • know more about celebrity gossip than US History some days.  (My mind is like a steel trap, unless it's real and useful knowledge, in which case, it's more like a colander!)
  • love Pinterest simply because you like making lists and looking at them.  (Because goodness knows you aren't crafting, cooking, or throwing any dinner parties these days!)
  • skip grocery shopping tonight to make sure you are home in time to watch Scandal!
  • ...that visions of Christmas Break are already filling my head!  (All my fellow teachers know what I am talking about on this one!!)

I'd love to hear what you need to be "okay" about this week!  Let me hear you in the comments or link up!  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 11/28

1.  With that being said I think I need to dive right in to some Christmas related questions, don't you? Which do you prefer-pretty gift wrap with a bow or a pretty gift bag with/without a bow?  What percentage of your holiday gifts are currently (as in right this very minute) wrapped in some form or fashion? 

I prefer to wrap with a bag and a bow because I am the worst at wrapping with wrapping paper.  And currently not a single one of my gifts are wrapped.  I have given two of my Christmas presents already though.  I bought my parents tickets to a concert that happened on Sunday (Annie Moses Band) so, I kind of had to give those early.  And my little sister, LuLu, picked out a great bracelet when we were shopping a couple weeks ago, and I let her keep it rather than take it back and have her pretend to be surprised.  

2.  What is one item on your Christmas list this year?

I finally broke down and put a Nook on my list this year.  Not one of the fancy ones, just one of the simple readers.  As much as I love a real book, it will make it easier to borrow books from my parents since they have both gone digital.

3.  What makes a home?

A home is somewhere you are comfortable and have people who love you.  It doesn't have to be the place you sleep at night, but it certainly can be.  Some of my favorite homes were/are not my own.

4.  Motown founder Berry Gordy celebrates his birthday on Hodgepodge Day-November 28th. Are you a fan of the Motown sound?  If so, who's your favorite Motown artist and/or song? Here's a list in case you're stuck. 

I am a huge Motown fan!  When I was very young, maybe three or four, my dad taught me all the songs on The Big Chill soundtrack.  (Still one of my very favorites!)  I think that my favorites would have to be "Ain't To Proud to Beg" by The Temptations and "Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin.  (Which was written by Carole King!)

5.  Red or green-which one is more prevalent in your closet?

I would have to say blue.  But my favorite cardigan is grass green and I would wear it every day if I could.

6.  True or false-bacon makes it better? If you answered true, what's your favorite dish made with bacon? 

Bacon makes it better, for sure!  I love green beans with bacon!  But I am from far enough south that we will put bacon with anything!

7.  Share a favorite holiday memory.

Is it bad that one doesn't stand out right away?  We have a lot of little traditions that make the holiday, so it's hard to just have one.  Though I have to believe that our best holidays are ahead of us, watching my niece experience it all!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I've talked about it before, but when I win the Powerball, I have big plans.  Most of them involve going to the beach and going to NYC.  And I'm perfectly okay with that.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I have been sick with sinus stuff since some time after Thanksgiving.  This really shouldn't be that surprising since I seem to pretty much have this all the time.  (Thank you allergies and weather that can't seem to decide what season it is!)  When I get like this, I get kind of weirdly emotional.   Anyone else do this when they are sick?  Things that aren't big deals suddenly become huge, and things that are not at all that serious have me in tears.  And even though I recognize this, I can't seem to stop it.

This is why I haven't been blogging (this week, anyway).  When at all possible, I try not to embarrass myself on the internet for the whole world (or the tens of you who read this blog) to see.  Trust me, it would not have been pretty.  Because while people do come here to read all of the crazy, silly, sometimes boring things I have to say, no one wants to listen to me whine.  I don't want to hear me whine, either.

I know I keep saying this, but one of these days, things will get back to normal around here.  Or maybe this is a new sort of normal, I don't know.  Things are what they are..good, bad or somewhere in between.  And for now, I'm just along for the ride.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge-11/21

1. Turkey-love it or leave it?  White meat or dark?  What's your favorite thing to make using leftover turkey?

Love it!  It's one of the things I'm most looking forward to tomorrow!  I'm a white meat eater, but I'm not big on leftovers.  I will usually just eat some warmed up with a little gravy or spicy BBQ sauce.

2. Gotta burn off all those carbs the day after a holiday feast so which would you rather do-run a 10K or climb a mountain? 

I'm fairly sure both of those would kill me.  I'm not a big altitude fan, however I don't believe I could run 1K.  Hmmm...can I choose a Walk Away the Pounds DVD instead?

3.  Do you feel like social networking has made your relationships better or worse?  Explain.

I feel like it has actually mad them better because I feel like that's the easiest way to talk to most of my friends.  Especially The Chicks.  We all lead busy lives, but it's nice to have a place to check in as needed (or rant as necessary)!  And then there are all the awesome people on Twitter!

4. How do you find and express gratitude for the hard things in your life? 

One of the best things you can do is the simplest, actually saying "Thank you!"   I've been trying to practice actually telling people how grateful I am for them, as well.  The more I see of what is out there in the world, the easier it is to see how much I have to be grateful for.  (Which in turn makes me want to give back to others through donations, time, or prayer.)

5.  In the US, the day after Thanksgiving has been dubbed 'Black Friday'.  Is most of your holiday shopping done live and in person, or is it done more through the magic of the Internet? How do you feel about stores opening at midnight Thanksgiving night? Will you be out amongst the masses on Friday? 

I am not a Black Friday shopper.  If I do partake, it will be through the internet.  I talked about this yesterday, but it bugs me that stores are opening earlier and earlier, giving their employees less time with their own families.

6.  Speaking of the color black-which black item in your wardrobe would you say is your favorite?

I have this tank top that has little bows all over it.  It's versatile and lightweight and one of my favorite pieces.

7.  What do you appreciate about your life today? 

I hope there's little I don't appreciate.  My life is so blessed, and I know that saying that sounds like a brag, but that's not what I mean.  I'm not rich by any means, but by most country's standards I am.  And I have the things that are more important than a bank account--good work, a loving family, and really hilarious and witty friends.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I cannot wait until lunch tomorrow.  It will be crazy, but in the best way.  Lots of food, lots of children (at least eight under age ten), a little wine (okay, maybe a lot of wine), and so much happiness.  We have so much to be thankful for as a family--good reports after health scares, new babies on the way--that I just can't think of a better way to celebrate than by the great majority of my extended family being together.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Almost Thanksgiving?!?

Once again, it's been almost a week since I posted.  I think this is probably because I'm just not that interesting.  I'm not putting myself down here.  Life's just been pretty routine the last couple of weeks.  I am thankful that Thanksgiving Break starts tomorrow.  I can always use a few days off to get myself together, which also might very well mean watching a lot of Netflix.  (Have you all seen Hart of Dixie?  It's simple, but it's cute.  Plus, I'm in love with Scott Porter, who you probably know as Jason Street from Friday Night Lights.)  

I don't have huge Thanksgiving plans.  We always go to my mom's side of the family for lunch.  I don't know for sure who is coming this year, but I'd say that we will be hitting somewhere close to 30 people.  The weather is supposed to be in the 60's (warm for November here), so maybe we can have some fun outside.  I have been given one goal--to make a cheesecake--at which I am relatively proficient.  We all know they don't want me making the entree, unless you really like Thanksgiving lasagna.  (And my family is pretty traditional!)  So I will leave the main dishes to Mama, the aunties, and Grandma.

I also don't Black Friday shop.  My reasoning for this is three-fold.  1)  I am not really a huge crowds of people person, and humanity tends to disappoint me as they fight over bicycles.  I refuse to shank someone over a sale item.  2)  I'm not sure how I feel about so many stores opening on Thanksgiving.  What about the workers and their families?  When it was 5 AM on Friday that was early enough.  Then it was midnight.  Now some stores are opening at 8 PM on Thanksgiving.  It just seems wrong.  And 3) I don't shop for that many people, and there's little that I would actually need to get.  Plus, most of the things I would actually need, I will probably order off of Amazon.  (I'm a Prime customer, so I can get it in two days without having to fight anyone, even if I am ordering a gross of kazoos and 300 glow sticks like I did last week for the school Christmas program.)  It's very possible that I will spend Black Friday cleaning out the attic at my parents.  Riveting, right?

What plans do you have for Thanksgiving?  Are you a Black Friday shopper?  Are you just looking forward to having a little downtime?  Tell me all about it in the comments!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 11/14

1.  What rule of life should never be broken?

It's okay to disagree, but it's not okay to let that disagreement fuel uglier emotions.  I've had enough of that to last a lifetime.

2.  What's your favorite family recipe? 

I can't make them to save my life, but my grandma's dumplings are just about my favorite thing in the world.  They are very temperamental, and no one but her can seem to get them just right.

3.  Is the media manipulative? 

The 24-news cycle has created an environment that prizes ratings over quality.  I think this push has caused the individual networks to move past competition into something that is less about news and more about sensationalism.  And I think that the manipulation is a product of that.  It doesn't matter if they lean more to the left or to the right, all media seems to do this to one degree or another.

4. Hubs and I saw Skyfall last weekend...are you a fan of the Bond films? If so, who's your favorite Bond?

As much as I love movies, I've never been a big Bond fan.  If I were to pick a favorite I would have to say Sean Connery, followed by Daniel Craig.  (Because seriously, have you SEEN that man?)

5. What is one thing you hope people never say about you?

That I wasn't kind when I had the opportunity to be.  I have been thinking a lot about this.  I'm not exactly rolling in the dough over here, but I am comfortable enough.  And in comparison with entirely too many people, I am wealthy.  God's really been laying it on my heart to find ways to give back.  Even if they seem small to me, they could be huge to someone else.  And I'm really excited about what that might mean, particularly as we move into the Christmas season.

6.  What's a nearby tourist attraction you'd like to see, but haven't gotten around to visiting? 

Lately, there have been these great commercials on about things to see in St. Louis, and as many times as I've been there, I have never been to some of those buildings.  Also, I have never been to Chicago.  Or the replica of the Parthenon in Nashville.  Perhaps some traveling needs to happen this summer...

7.  Where's your favorite tree?

My favorite trees are in my parents' yard.  When I was in third grade, they gave us pine and cypress saplings to plant at home.  Every time I see them, huge and healthy, it makes me smile.  I do have a fondness for the dogwood in my yard as well.  Is it possible to have an over-attachment to trees?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I'm ready for Thanksgiving Break (FIVE DAYS OFF!), but I will gladly take the three-day weekend ahead.  I'm especially excited about going to the Craft Fair with my mom, SIL, sister, and niece!  Spending a little girl time is always fun!  (Particularly while the boys are all out in the woods waiting for deer!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Musical Confession

How is it already the middle of November?  A month ago and a half ago, I was celebrating my birthday and that seems both like both a second and a lifetime ago after all the insanity that was October.  Let's just say my little blog break was needed because chances are my ability to put together a coherent thought was much lower than usual.  I didn't give up all social media, rest assured.  Twitter has become my new favorite hangout and I'm having the best time over there talking at celebrities and other people I don't really know (and a few I do).  Sometimes, they answer back, so that's a bonus.  I'm a person who's pretty good with blurbs, so 140 characters is my cup of tea.  I still love talking here, recording my life and whatnot, Twitter's just another fun outlet.  If you have an account and feel so inclined, you can follow me by clicking that button in the sidebar.

Speaking of,  recently I tweeted the following:  "I'm just going to say this and risk all music credibility...I actually like Taylor Swift's new album. Fresh and inventive."  I cannot stop listening to Red.  I may have been screaming it in the car on the way home today.  You can't help it.  One minute you are cursing that "we are never, ever getting back together" and the next you are singing along like it's your job.  It's just so catchy.  But that may be my least favorite song on the album.  Taylor (because we are on a first name basis, you know) gets a bad wrap that all of her songs are about ex-boyfriends, and she plays it up because that's the kind of stuff that sells albums.  But it's really an injustice because her music is more than that.  And, moreover, it's better than that.  I encourage you to give it a listen, not that she really needs my endorsement because she's already sold well over one million copies since it came out in late October.  

I'm not really listening to much else right now, but it's been a long time since I did a music post, so maybe I need to get on that this week.  Sounds like a good job for my day off on Friday, perhaps.  

What is your guilty pleasure?  Have you listened to Red?  I would love to hear your thoughts or your recommendations if there's something you just can't get enough of right now.  Share in the comments.  You know you want to....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Glorious Fall Weekend

Last week was quite a week.  Nothing spectacular, but certainly full of day-to-day stuff.  For instance, if you were wondering what $11,000 of cookie dough looks like, I now know.  It came on a semi and in so many boxes.  SO many boxes.  Meanwhile, I've been prepping my choir for our first Christmas program.  They are actually excited about the music (as am I), and they are learning it faster than I could have dreamed.  For all of us being first-timers (them as a choir, me as a choir director), I will take any victory I can get!  We are running headlong into the busiest time of the year.  It's hard to believe that in a little over a week it will be Thanksgiving.  How did that happen?

Though I have no pictures to show for it, I had a great weekend!  My girls and I got together on Saturday at our favorite winery.  We hadn't been in over a month!  There was a fun band, and it was very busy because it was 72 degrees here on Saturday, but the atmosphere eventually got a little overwhelming.  Jessie, Casey and I ended up at a favorite local place and gorged ourselves until we were pretty sure we were food drunk. And it was worth every bite!  As if that wasn't glorious enough, I ended the night at my parents', listening to my sweet niece's giggles.  I went back over for lunch today (and more giggles) and then came home and took the best nap!  And I might still go to bed early, because now it's rainy and apparently going to go back to being cold and November-ish.

I actually have to work tomorrow, because we don't get Veteran's Day unless it falls during the week, but am off Friday, because we don't go to school on Friday.  (It's Shotgun Season for deer.  And yes, you read that right.)  Anyway you slice it, it's still a four-day week, so I can't really complain!

But the real question is:  Did you all do anything special over the weekend?  I want to hear all about it in the comments!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why I Vote

I don't get political too often here, and this isn't really going to be one of those times either.  But because I am a history nerd and a history teacher, I just can't let this day go by without commenting on why I think it's important to vote.  (After all, if I am going to make my kids write about it today, it's only fair that I write my thoughts down as well.)

I vote because for entirely too many years, women didn't have that right.  Though all of the mud slinging and inability to have civil conversations makes me want to upchuck my lunch, I vote because Susan B. Anthony went to jail for trying to exercise that right.  Alice Paul went on a hunger strike for that right.  People in countries all over the world have died and will die trying to get an opportunity to have a say in who represents them.  So, when I'm at the polling place, I think of them.

I'm not a Republican.  Nor a Democrat.  I am not swayed by commercials or Facebook statuses.  And I keep my opinions to myself.  The beauty of living in a country where I elect people by secret ballot is that I don't have to tell you who I voted for or why.

If you are eligible, I hope you voted.  But if not, then that's okay, too.  We will still be friends tomorrow, when I'm sure to be talking about something completely ridiculous.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Finding Comfort

I went to Mass on Saturday afternoon.  It's been a long time since I just randomly went to Mass when it wasn't for a special occasion.  I haven't been a practicing Catholic since I was in my early twenties, since before the girls and I became worship leaders.  But as I watched the coverage of the devastation of Sandy, I knew in my heart that I needed to go to my spiritual "home" this weekend.  I will admit that I've only watched the coverage sparingly.  I donated to the Red Cross and said prayers of thanks for those I know who were safe in the storm, and prayed for comfort for those that weren't.  But I couldn't even watch the telethon Friday night because the images just made me too sad.  And I know the kind of spiral that can trigger in my mind.  So, Mass it was.

My paternal grandfather, a lifelong Baptist, told me years and years ago that God doesn't care where you attend, He's just looking for you to show up. And I've generally found that when you show up in need, so will He.  Location doesn't really matter, but there's something deeply comforting about Mass to me.  Maybe it's the ritual, practiced time and time again, all over the world, and still very much the same.  Maybe it's the memories of the people who raised me, not just my family, but people like Linda, my godmother and First Communion teacher.  The church is small, and has a new priest whom I'd never met, but his homily brought tears to my eyes and hope to my heart.  And isn't that the point of church, no matter where you go?