Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Things That Bring Me Joy

Yesterday was a difficult day for a lot of people, me included.  So, I decided that now was as good a time as any to get back on the blog for a list of joyful things.  (I've taken a break from most other forms of social media for my own mental health.)
  • Shellac nail polish is a miracle from heaven.  My nails look awesome and that makes me feel put together and fancy.  (Silly, but totally true.)
  • I get to spend all Friday with my bestie, just hanging out doing what we love (junk shopping).  It's been too long and I miss her terribly.
  • We are just two weeks away from the Gilmore Girls revival.  There may be custom theme wear in my immediate future.
  • My hope is found in Christ Jesus.  God is love, and in Him there is no darkness at all, no matter what anyone else has to say.  I've been mediating on my life verse, Psalm 27, and will continue to do so.  
  • It's almost basketball season.  It's a crazy busy time, but maybe that's for the best.  I never have done well with time on my hands.
  • The band teacher and I are taking 60 kids to the symphony next week for free.  Our kids don't often get experiences like this, so we're excited.  Also, it's our first year to have a band in a while, so that's fun, too.
  • Kindness and love still prevail. This election as been rough on all of us. Last night there were many messages of despair, but today, I have seen so many full of kindness and love, messages that remind all of us that we still have the choice to get up every day and try to fill the world with as much good as possible.  I know I've doubled down on my efforts.
The world feels uncertain and I imagine that isn't going away any time soon.  But just because that's true,  doesn't mean there aren't things that we can do to fight back against those feelings.  What's bringing you joy today?

Thursday, July 7, 2016


I don't typically get political on the internet.  But it's nearly 1 AM and I can't sleep because there are just so many troubling thoughts running through my head.  And what's bothering me most isn't really political, it's societal.  I think that, as a white woman, I've been afraid to say anything about what's happening between police and, primarily, the African American community.  I don't want to say the wrong thing, to trivialize anyone's point of view, or because of my own privilege (and it is privilege), make matters worse.  But staying silent feels like saying what's happening is okay, and it's not.

This is a heated topic, and one that I don't really have answers to.  But I just know that we have to do better calling this what it is, and working to somehow change it.  We can't keep seeing the body count rise in the name of law enforcement.  We have to ask ourselves what's at the root of this?  Is it fear? Racism?  Something else?  I have heard all the arguments and I can see where both sides are coming from, I suppose, but can't we all agree this isn't what we want?  Surely this isn't what we want.  I just don't know.

But here's what I do know.  When I see another hashtag trending, I don't just mourn for the families who have lost someone.  I start seeing faces of young black men and women I have taught, and I pray that this isn't their story.  I think of my cousin's husband, who I routinely cut up with at family functions, and of their children, specifically their son, a smart, athletic, handsome teen, and pray it's not their story.  Because somehow, this is what it's come to.  I have begun to pray that someone I love isn't going to die because of a broken taillight.  There have been 559 deaths in the US in 2016 during police interactions.  And if it's not your friend, your student, your relative, it's still someone's.  And I just don't believe it has to be.

I'm turning off comments, because I simply won't argue on this one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

When A Coach Is More Than A Coach

I don't remember the first time I heard the name Pat Summitt.  But I remember when she came to my attention.  My mother, in an effort to get my brother to enjoy reading, subscribed to Sports Illustrated, and one week, there was this woman glaring on the cover.  And I just knew I had to know more about her.  So, I stole the magazine and read the entire article.  (You can read it here.)  And, I kept that magazine in with other special mementos for years afterward.  (I still have it somewhere in the depths of my back room, in fact.)

I don't know what exactly captivated me about Pat Summitt.  I didn't come from a family that followed women's sports.  I certainly never played basketball, routinely losing pick up games to a brother three years my junior.  She did look a lot like my aunt, whose house I spent my formative years traipsing in an out of. But, I'd like to think that there was just something about her I knew was worth paying attention to, worth emulating, even when I was too young to understand how rare the Pat Summits of the world really are.  She set a standard of excellence on the court, in the classroom, and in the world that players weren't just invited, but expected, to meet.  She simply didn't settle for anything less.  And low and behold, players rose to meet those expectations time and time again.  

I never had the pleasure of meeting Pat Summitt,  I never saw her coach a single game in person.  But when I read the news of her death this morning, I cried in a way I hadn't cried in while.  There is an inherent injustice to early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.  Having lost a beloved childhood teacher to this very disease earlier this year, I've seen first hand how this disease can topple even the strongest of spirits.  Losing a legend at 64 will always leave the world wondering what could have happened if she had just had a few more years pacing the sidelines of the very court Tennessee named after her.  How many more games might she had won?  How many more titles?  

Pat Summitt stepped down after 38 years, having coached 161 players to 1,098 wins (making her the winning-est coach in Division I, man or woman), eight national titles, and proudly boasting a 100% graduation rate (which is almost unheard of in collegiate athletics, sadly).  But, those numbers aren't really her legacy.  I've read articles and stories all day long, praising both her caring hand and her tough discipline.  These stories aren't just those of her players, but of little girls who simply by growing up with her as an example in the world tried to do better.  Her legacy is in people--lives changed, dreams realized, hearts touched.  

And I know that to be true, because my heart was one of them.  I want to be the kind of coach, teacher, and person that Pat Summitt would want me to be.  And rumor has it, that's a pretty high bar.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

We Need To Talk About Fuller House

That's right.  This was serious enough to resurrect the blog, people.  I, in my role as the premiere imaginary entertainment reporter, had to address this situation of national importance.  Fuller House was a big, fat flop.

Let me start by saying that this isn't how I wanted things to go.  My sister and I loved the original, (and love traditional sitcoms, in general).  I watched Full House like everyone in my age group, as part of TGIF when it originally aired.  My sister, being nearly ten years younger, watched it in repeats until she's seen every episode multiple times.  We are not your casual viewers. When we found out about the Netflix revival, we made an unbreakable date to watch. An entire Saturday was blocked off.  Snacks and drinks were acquired.  We were focused.  We were ready.  We lasted two and half episodes before we started watching YouTube videos instead.

The fact that they show was so boring that we gave up really bothered me.  In the name of research, I decided to finish the rest of the episodes on my own today.  And I've arrived at a few thoughts on how this train ran so badly off the tracks.

1) Fuller House is so busy patting itself on the back about how clever it is that it forgets to actually be clever.  The jokes are either cheap or just chances to say catch phrases.  When they aren't doing that, they are throwing shade at the Olsens or just being meta and it might make you smile but it doesn't make you laugh.

2) They forgot to bring the heart.  Full House was a sitcom, but we loved the characters and we felt for them.  We mourned the mother that DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle were robbed of.  We felt their heartbreaks and happiness.  And we just aren't given that in this new show.  DJ has one teary scene about her husband and then it's all about the love triangle.  We are not given a chance to really invest in these characters beyond what we already know about them.  And that was ultimately disappointing.

3) The writing just wasn't good.  My bar for dialogue is not that high.  But it's higher than what was happening here.  It felt like Netflix just got together a few B-string writers and said give us every trope you've got, without context or merit.

4) It relies too much on the history of Full House instead of trying to be its own thing with memories from the old show mixed in.  This is what I think other revival shows, like Girl Meets World (which I happen to love), get right.  Girl Meets World gives us the character drop-ins we want, but within the context of telling a new story.  In the finale, which I liked better than some of the other episodes, Becky and Jesse were renewing their vows, but without their kids or Danny?  This was shoehorned into the plot in such a careless way, it actually makes sense when Jesse and Becky leave without telling anyone.

5) I didn't care who DJ picked in the love triangle. I get that all the true fans were supposed to root for Steve, but he just kind of weirded me out. He was just too much. And I liked Matt, but I feel like we didn't really know him at all.  And trying to go through the whole process in 13 episodes just felt really forced.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.  I wanted to love it, but I just couldn't get there.  If you disagree, I'd love to hear your point of view.  Maybe I just didn't get it.  But it wasn't for lack of trying.