Tuxedo or Tuxedon’t

As faithful followers of this blog I’m sure you’ve heard that I’m engaged and will be walking down the aisle to marry this man in October. I couldn’t be happier! So far the wedding planning has been fairly painless – the worst part was finding the bridesmaid dresses – and everything is coming together well! I think.

That is, until I started looking at tuxedos. Uh, I mean we – until we started looking at tuxedos.

First of all, I should tell you that within hours of becoming engaged I had Adam convinced that he and his groomsmen would be donning powder blue tuxedos with ruffled shirts for our nuptials. I described ad nauseum exactly what they would look like, down to the shoes and he bought it hook, line and sinker. Poor guy is so gullible.

Then, Adam began telling me how much he liked the look of traditional tails. But here’s the problem: our wedding? Is in my small hometown in Southwest Arkansas. It’s your typical laid back southern town and I love that, but I also love Adam and didn’t want to deprive him of his dream – even if it was a bit formal for our fête.

So I asked his mom what she thought. She laughed. A lot.

Then I asked my mom. She wasn’t buying the idea, either.

Finally, in an effort to gain a full consensus, I asked the big gun. She doubled over laughing. Literally.

Adam’s dream of tails was dashed – unanimously.

Tuxedon’t #2: [Not] Chasing tails

Then, the Royal Wedding happened and I become enamored with morning suits. They seemed to be an almost perfect compromise for us. Almost tails, but not uber formal. Relaxed yet traditional. Classic. English. It just might work. Then I realized that they are almost impossible to find for rent, not to mention renting one for my 6’8″ dad. So we nixed that idea, but I still love a good morning suit. How could you not?

Tuxedon’t #3: Morning dress: It makes every man look dapper…unless you’re a giant.

At this point, we’re 0 for 3 on the tuxedo front. Which should mean our options are significantly less than when we started almost 6 months ago, right? Wrong. Did you know there are are approximately 3,581 options remaining for picking out tuxedos? Now you do.

Allow me to explain.

While we have now realized that we want the standard tail-less tuxedo, we have to choose the color we want. Do we go with khaki or gray? Black or pin-stripe? Once that’s decided we have to choose the style of lapel. Do we like shawl lapels or notch lapels? Diamond shaped shawl or satin trimmed notch? Then there’s the issue of buttons. One button, two buttons or no buttons? It’s pure torture. And the combinations for all of these options are endless and look different every. single. time.

Once the jacket is decided upon we have to pick pleated or flat-front trousers. Easy enough, since I prefer flat front. Phew. That’s one decision made. I hope.

You’d think at this point the decisions would be easier. You’d be wrong. Again.

You see, at this point in the tuxedo shopping extravaganza the issue of shirt comes into play. Did you know there is more than one type of button-down shirt for tuxedos? I didn’t. There’s the laydown collar or the wing collar. Easy enough to choose between – if you knew what type of tie you wanted.

So once you [hypothetically] settle on the 2 button black tuxedo with satin-trimmed notch lapels, flat front trousers and white shirt with lay down collar you have to choose the windsor tie style. But I’m not just talking colors, I’m talking patterns: paisley, diamond, striped or solid. Then, and only then can you pick a color for the tie. Sounds easy enough right?

Unfortunately, at this point in the tuxedo selection process your brain is so tired from choosing lapels, buttons, and tie style that colors like ecru, mocha, champagne and white cannot be differentiated.

Thus causing you to abandon all efforts and forget you spent an hour and a half deciding between shawls and notches.

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Year in Review

Last year around this time, I wrote a year in review post full of random observations and comparisons about my life. What better time than a rainy, dreary Saturday to write the 2011 version? Plus, after 2 Jazzercise classes this morning – umm, Ballet Body is no joke! – and trying to make a substantial dent in my DVR, which is happily sitting at 92% full right now, I figure I could use a little mental and creative stimulation!

I now present 2010 vs. 2011 (thus far)…

  • 2010: Cars with random sayings written on their back window should be taken off the road. Today’s quote? “Porno Country” written in white shoe polish.
    2011: I’m sooo over drivers who drive slower than the posted speed. 10 in a 30 is not ok, but thanks for finally getting out of my way.
  • 2010: I dabbled in designing my own stationery this year. I had 5 clients.
    2011: I’m obsessed with the gorgeous clipart from pugly pixel! You’ll find that a lot of them are used throughout my blog 🙂
  • 2010:  Watching Food Network in bed is the best way to unwind and head to dreamland.
    2011:   I received an iPad for Christmas (Thanks, Adam!). I now drift off into dreamland playing Mahjong.
  • 2010: Season 9 of American Idol was horribly over-hyped. Can we just go ahead and give Crystal Bowersox the title?
    2011:  What season is it this year?
  • 2010: Ellen DeGeneres is the newest American Idol judge. Watch out, she’s about to take over the World.
    2011: Ellen never fails to make me laugh, then cry, then laugh again as I watch her talk show.
  • 2010: Using “tweet” as a verb is acceptable, so is using “tweep” as a noun.
    2011:  Umm, “OMG” was just added to the Oxford Dictionary. I feel like everything I learned in English class was a lie.
  • 2010: Watching crazy housewives act like high school mean girls [or mafia members] all season and then meet up for a reunion long after the filming has wrapped is good television.
    2011: Does anyone else see something wrong with Jim and Alexis’ relationship or is it just me? So. Wrong. Give her a voice and get your own dang orange juice, puh-lease.
  • 2010: Long, late night phone calls/video chats with your boyfriend, who moved 8 hours away last May, are my favorite way to end a long day.
    2011:  Ditto, but in a little over 6.5 months we will be married! And living in the same zipcode – yet to be determined.
  • 2010: My iPhone is my single greatest investment ever. How did I survive without it? [see also: Words with Friends]
    2011:  The iPad is the single greatest invention ever. It’s practically attached to my hip when I’m at home. Is there anything it can’t do?
  • 2010: Despite hearing how cheesy it is or remembering the unfortunate neon leotards from the 80′s that many still [wrongly] associate with it, Jazzercise is the single best workout I’ve ever done, not to mention the only one I’ve stuck with for over 4 months without complaint. I? LOVE. IT!
    2011:  In case you haven’t noticed, I’m obsessed with Jazzercise so much that it’s been mentioned on my blog at least 7 times. I will stop you in the street and tell you about it, if you’ll let me. LOVE. IT!
  • 2010: Twitter is how I make it through my work day.
    2011:  Try as I might to not get sucked into the addiction that is Twitter, I’ve failed. And I sometimes clog my followers feeds with senseless live tweets for pageants, award shows and documentaries about ferrets. Truly sorry, y’all!
  • 2010: Since when did Facebook become the place for High School “spirit weeks”. I don’t care about the color of your underwear, your birthplace, or the celebrity you most resemble. What happened to original status updates??
    2011:  The Social Network was the best movie of the last year hands down. I wonder how many of the applications and games Zuckerberg uses on his profile and if he’s one of those every 5 minute updaters?
  • 2010: Cupcakes from Cupcakes on Kavanaugh are a delectable treat.
    2011:  Gelato for ZAZA makes me happy, especially Honey Yogurt.
  • 2010: Why have I not seen “This Is It”? <—- Still true, one year later.
    2011: Why have I not seen “Gone with the Wind”?
  • 2010: Jazzercise is my new [and hopefully permanent] stress relief.
    2011:  A day without Jazzercise most often leads to a less perky version of myself. Need. It.
  • 2010: Girls’ nights, with friends you can be truly yourself around, are few and far between.
    2011:  Still true, but I’m basking in my solo life since it will soon be coming to an end. Then I get to annoy Adam every. single. day. with my perkiness, random thoughts, and Bravo reality shows!! I know he’s excited.
  • 2010:  Despite how much of a mistake they were in the 90′s, Hammer Pants are back. Did we not learn anything?
    2011:  Did you hear? Fanny packs are coming back. Which reminds me of the neon green one I wore on family vacations in the early 90s. I think it had “Marlboro” or some other brand of cigarette written across the front. My dad was a grocer and I was the walking underage billboard for cigarettes. [No one in my family smokes]
  • 2010: Did I mention I’m going to my favorite beach this summer?!?!?!
    2011:  Did I mention I’m getting MARRIED in October?!?! CAN. NOT. WAIT!

Our House

Lately I’ve found myself driving around town and making up stories about the inhabitants of random houses.

That craftsman house I pass almost daily: I bet the owners are close to retirement age. They have grown children and are soon expecting their first grandchild. Their home is cheerful, filled to the brim with memories of the life they’ve led. They host bridge once a week, playing around the same table where they helped their children with homework.

That small wood-frame home with a carport: A widow lives there. The same home she built with her husband while raising their children in the 60s. She spends most of her time in 1 room: the kitchen, because that’s where most of her memories took place. She remembers her son’s burnt batch of brownies and the crowded Thanksgiving dinners. She finds herself staring at the same refrigerator where her children’s grades were proudly displayed.

That friendly 2-story brick house in a sub-division I discovered on a random jaunt about town: I’m positive it’s home to a young family with 2 elementary aged children. The interior is modern yet inviting, the refrigerator covered in art projects and A+ homework assignments. The backyard filled with toys.

What I’ve realized in these daydreams is that every family I make up in my head is happy, loving, and supportive. They are warm and welcoming and exude Southern hospitality. Their homes are well-decorated, each piece of furniture placed lovingly in position and each photo on the wall capturing a moment in time that they treasure.

Maybe it’s because I’m newly engaged that I think about these things. Maybe it’s what happens when a bride-to-be starts to dream about her own house and new family. Whatever the reason, it’s given me focus.

Focus to create a home that is welcoming, warm and full of love. A home that is a reflection of the personalities which inhabit it. A family that cherishes memories, laughs together and plays games together.

A family who makes memories in the kitchen.

image via Orange Blossom Society

The ABCs of Meggie

Yesterday one of my favorite bloggers, Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers, posted the ABCs of PBF and it inspired me to write my own ABC post. I love learning about other blogger’s quirks and thought you probably do too! Otherwise, why would you waste your time reading my senseless southern ramblings? 🙂

  • A.   Age: 26
  • B.   Bed size: Queen
  • C.   Chore you hate: Cleaning every inch of the bathroom.
  • D.   Dogs: LOVE! I grew up with the best Cocker Spaniel ever, Sugar. Over the years my family’s dogs have also included Isabelle (a Basset) and Lucky and Mischief (Heinz 57s).
  • E.  Essential start to your day: iPod alarm clock. Even if I do snooze for a good 15 minutes after it first goes off. 🙂
  • F.  Favorite color: Razorback Red, duh!
  • G.  Gold or silver: Silver.
  • H.  Height: 6’2″ (and no, I didn’t play college basketball)
  • I.   Instruments you play: None anymore, but I can pound out some Christmas music on the piano once a year. I used to play Bb Clarinet and pit percussion in my school band.
  • J.   Job title: Training and Development Specialist.
  • K.  Kids: None right now, though I hope for a couple in the distant future.
  • L.  Live: Arkansas.
  • M. Mom’s name: Karen.
  • N.  Nicknames: Meg Tay, Meggie, Meg, Megs.
  • O.  Overnight hospital stays: ICU after a supposed outpatient jaw surgery in high school. Good times.
  • P.  Pet peeve: Misusing “me” and “I”. People who wear socks with sandals.
  • Q.  Quote from a movie:

The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.

[Brownie Points if you can name the movie]

  • R.  Righty or Lefty: Righty.
  • S.   Siblings: One younger sister, Madeline.
  • T.   Time you wake up: Between 6:45 and 7.
  • U.   Underwear: Full coverage.
  • V.    Vegetables you dislike: Mainly just one – Mushrooms.
  • W.   What makes you run late: I’m usually early, but every once in a while Twitter might be to blame.
  • X.    X-rays you’ve had: More than I care to count on my jaw.
  • Y.    Yummy food you make: Cookies! Muffins!  Shrimp! Pasta! Cupcakes!
  • Z.     Zoo animal favorite: Baby elephants. (How’s that for specific?)

English as a Third Language (ETL)

For the last few months, I’ve volunteered my time as a literacy tutor at the local library. The students vary from native English speakers to immigrants – all of whom need to learn how to communicate and read for their job and day to day life. It’s been a rewarding experience for me and something I look forward to every week. I work with my student on sight words during each session, then switch into reading short stories from the provided literature.

Usually, I’ll go through the cabinets before my tutoring session begins to find a story for my student to read. Something that is on his level but also still challenges him. Two weeks ago I just happened to glance at the ESL (English as a Second Language) shelf and noticed a book titled A Field Guide to Southern Speech – A twelve-gauge lexicon for the duck blind, the deer stand, the skeet shoot, the bass boot, and the backyard bar-b que.

I kid you not.

I was flabbergasted. Not only because it was in the ESL shelf, but because it was stacked with the legitimate textbooks, not in the nonexistent joke and riddle book stack. Looking past the blantant misspelling of Arkansas (and every other southern state) on the cover, I discreetly placed the book in my purse to protect the innocent and examine further at home.

Now I wished I never had.

I know, as Southerners, many of us have a sort of slang that we use to communicate with our close friends and family. My slang has been known to be riddled with “fixin’ to” and “y’all”, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to teach an ESL student those words right off the bat. I also wish the worst word/phrase in this book was “ain’t”, but it’s not.

I weep for the students that possibly could have been taught English with this book and here’s some examples why:

chill wrens: young humans.

poultry: rhythmic, often rhyming verse

cain’t: contraction of can and ain’t.

toe up: extremely upset, overwrought.

hottern: a measure of relative warmth.

sea gulls: observe women.

yearn: not mine.

hyar: not thar.

narrow: ammunition for a bonarrow.

warsh: clean with soap and water.

dade: deceased.

yawl: second person plural pronoun. There is no singular.

Forget English.

Southern: It’s your second language.

Promises, Promises

Earlier this week, Adam asked me to make a promise about our impending future together. A promise that spawned from a fear of his.

His fear? That I would turn into a Real Housewife once we were married.

My promise? I won’t become a Real Housewife.

Let me tell you, his fear was very real and written all over his face. Meanwhile, I’m trying to stifle my laughter because he actually believes I might turn into one.

As you probably know, I cannot tear myself away from the Real Housewives franchise. I follow every season, can discuss the episodes ad nauseum with anyone that will listen and have references pop into my head at random times throughout my day-to-day life. Maybe this explains Adam’s fear for the future – our future.

Thankfully, after talking through it with him and getting to a point where he truly believes I won’t become one, we’re now able to joke about it. As further proof that I have no desire to become a Real Housewife, I thought I’d post my Top 10 Reasons here – should Adam ever need to be reminded in the future 🙂

10. I have no desire to have cameras shoved in my face, or my family’s face, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Nor do I have any desire to have my phone tapped, my innermost thoughts broadcast to the world, or my “confessions” spliced, edited, and taken out of context. I prefer my spoken thoughts, as stupid as they may sometimes be, to be unedited and taken at face value.

9. Sure I like pets who wear clothes, gosh they can be so cute! But it doesn’t mean I’m going to drop thousands of dollars on a pure-bred purse dog just because I can. I’ll take shelter dog instead, they’ll be just as cute and loving.

8. I can think of about 1,000 other ways I’d spend 3.5 million dollars instead of on a child’s third birthday party. 2nd home in South Carolina, anyone?

7. I drive a Nissan. Not a Jaguar, not a Mercedes, not a BMW or Hummer. I drive your typical run of the mill 4 door sedan and the most fascinating place it takes me to during the week is work. Plus, I hear working for anyone but yourself or in a family business pretty much disqualifies you from being a Real Housewife.

6. I will never feel comfortable spending $3,000 in a single shopping trip on a pair of jeans, a sweater, and a t-shirt dress for a child who is still growing! That’s why Target was founded.

5. Reunions with my girlfriends won’t involve Andy Cohen asking us to relive the drama and tell him how we feel. Instead they’ll involve drama-free drinks at Happy Hour or the occasional trip to NYC.

Just making sure you’re paying attention.

4. I have no previous connections with the mafia. I have never been a drug dealer – or tried drugs for that matter. I also have no “Big Poppa” relationship.

3. I will never understand why women want frozen, expressionless faces. Plus, facial expressions can be important when effectively conveying sarcasm, which I plan to do a lot of for the rest of my life.

2. I have no desire to become a one-hit wonder singing about parties for which I cannot arrive on time, class for which money cannot buy, or closets from which freaks emerge. The only time I will try to be a recording star is when it required of me on whatever wii game I am playing at the moment.

1. I live in Arkansas. Rarely, if ever, do gay men prance around in high heels and hot pants then come to my house to fix my non-existent wig for a night on the town in the dry county I call home.

Wintertainment

See what I did there? Winter + Entertainment = Wintertainment. I’m a genius. Or bored.

Either way, the cold of winter is officially here and with it comes stretches of gray days, snow and/or ice and temperatures that are dangerously close to sub-zero. Yes, it gives me an excuse to wear scarves from my huge collection with my favorite pea coat, but it also causes me to start my days cursing as I open the door and head to work every morning.

Being a southerner, we take snow much more  cautiously than most – meaning schools cancel as soon as the first flake falls from the sky, drivers go no faster than 5 mph on clear roads, and 2 days prior to the frightful forecasted snow grocery stores are sold out of milk, eggs, and bread. You’d think we were preparing for the end of the world. Or something.

These snow days leave many paralyzed in their homes playing games with their family – until that gets old after a couple of hours – then catching up on DVRed shows or watching movies while snacking on popcorn (and cheese dip). Because of the snow days we’ve experienced in my neck of the woods over the last 2 weeks I thought it would be helpful to give you a list of movies that cure my stir crazy winter blues.

 

1. The Sound of Music – If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know this movie holds a special place in my heart, but it’s also the most perfect movie ever made – in my opinion – and one that I never tire of watching. Oh, who am I kidding? I quote and sing-a-long with it alone in my apartment. 🙂

2. Tortilla Soup – My favorite movie you’ve probably never heard of. Like Mexican food? Like romantic comedies? Like romantic comedies revolving around Mexican Food starring Hector Elizondo and also featuring Raquel Welch? Then you must  run out and find this movie. Just don’t watch it on an empty stomach, because you will watch it, you will get hungry, and you will wish you had smell-a-vision.

3. The Social Network – Yes, it JUST was released on DVD, but it’s easily become one of favorite all-time movies. Not only does it tell the incredible story of Facebook’s origins, but it also has an impeccable score. Plus, Jesse Eisenberg reminds me of Adam during the coding scenes throughout the movie. And, upon seeing in the theater, Adam jumped up and clicked his heels in glee walking back to the car.

He’s also going to kill me for posting that.

4. Father of the Bride – Perhaps it’s the fact that right now? My life currently mimics this movie. But if I’m being honest, I’ve always seen parts of Adam and me in the movie throughout our relationship and now it’s just magnified because I’m actually planning a wedding, making the guest list, finding a caterer, finding locations, and finding my Frank.

5. Chocolat – If you haven’t seen this before we can’t be friends. No, seriously. We can’t. That said, this is my go to movie when I’m tired of everything else in my collection. It’s like you take a vacation to France without leaving your couch. Must be the chocolate…or maybe the Johnny Depp factor 😉

What movies are your go-to favorites for curing the winter blues?

Deck the Halls

I love everything about the Holidays. The music, the food, and the family time. The decor.

Every year, my family begins decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving.

We deck our old Victorian home’s halls with mistletoe balls.

We hang our needlepoint stockings on the mantle with care.

We set up the Christmas Village which my mom collected over several years.

We hang the tatted and crocheted snowflakes our Great-Aunt Lila and Great-Grandmother Ruth made for us for every birthday, anniversary, and holiday until they passed away.

We give the Baby Jesus his first sip of wine.

Oh wait, that’s so my sister and I can make it through decorating with our parents. [I kid, I kid.]

Every year, memories of decorating for Christmases past flood my mind. In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories is from this treasured time and involves the song, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams.

I was probably 2 or 3 and wearing a navy peacoat and saddle oxfords. My hair was probably in braided pigtails tied with red ribbon (courtesy of my mom), and we were decorating the house for Christmas just as we always have.

We keep the majority of our Christmas decorations in a closet under the stairs and my dad was in charge of getting out all of the boxes. Being Daddy’s Little Girl, I decided he needed help taking the decorations out of their boxes and putting them in their appropriate location.

God help him – my dad’s 6’8″ frame has had to contort to fit into a less than 3 ft tall space, in order to get all of our decorations out, for as long as I can remember. Well, until this year, when my sister took over this chore.

First was the box of Christmas lights for the front of our house. I pushed that big box down the hallway and out the door to the porch. Then came the garland box, which also got pushed outside. Next, was our stuffed animal head of Rudolph [I swear it’s not as brutal looking as it sounds] that we normally hang on the wall by the kitchen, but that year, I decided it should be displayed prominently on the front porch. The same went for the fabric Santa wall hanging, as it also got taken to the front porch.

Eventually, almost every item from every Christmas decor box and almost every item from that downstairs closet got taken to the front porch – including an old wooden tennis racket that was lying near the boxes by the closet door.

Apparently, I thought the Baby Jesus and Santa would enjoy playing tennis together.

My Christmas Playlist

It should come as no surprise that I’m a music junkie and the Holidays are no different. Many songs make me nostalgic (go figure), while others simply provide yet another great beat to which I can bop my head. I’ve got classics from when my parents were kids and instrumental standards, holiday inspired rap and 80’s-style pop. Every. single. song. fills me with the spirit of Christmas.

It’s taken me a while to build up a Christmas music selection that I’m never sick of listening to, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite tunes with you. Happy Holidays!

Click the record below to listen to the playlist whenever you want to feel festive! 

The Advent Wreath

The season of Advent is upon us.

It’s the time of year when families around the globe, who observe the liturgical calendar, gather in preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

A time where families gather in church fellowship halls to build their own Wreath, which they will place prominently in their homes and light as a family throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas.

A time for Joy, Peace, Love and Hope.

A time when parents are full of joy because their children are able to light the candles of the Wreath in an environment of love and peace. Or, in the case of my parents, hopeful that their daughters would light the candles in an environment of love and peace.

You see, one year my sister and I weren’t so, um, loving or peaceful during the lighting of the candles. In fact, we had a bit of a tiff over whose turn it was to read the devotional and whose turn it was to light the candles.

And this tiff?

Well, let’s just say that in ended in a – ahem – well lit Advent Wreath.

As in, we set our family’s Advent Wreath on fire.
image via Jer86 on Flickr

White Elephant

One of my old teams at work held a gift exchange at Christmas. The idea was that half of us would bring white elephant gifts and the other half would bring nice gifts – while staying within a budget of $20. I was tasked with bringing a white elephant gift and decided it would be best to look at local “junk stores” and flea markets to find the perfect gift. I spent hours looking before hitting the white elephant jackpot.

High on a shelf hidden amongst lots’o’junk, I saw it. The PERFECT white elephant gift. A HUGE figurine of a carousel horse, I’m talking at least 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It was painted in pastel shades of pink and purple, had fake pearls stuck all over, glitter accents, tulle wrapped around the base and neck, and a fantastically shiny gold pole going up the middle, along with a gold horn on its head.

It. Was. Ugly.

And, because it was so huge, finding a way to wrap it that made it look like a nice gift proved difficult, I had to creatively tape boxes together before gingerly wrapping it up and topping it with the prettiest bow I could make.

The next day, I hauled it to the party, and placed it in the gift pile. I was beside myself with excitement to see who would be the lucky recipient. We drew numbers to see in what order we would pick (or steal) our gifts and the fun began. About mid-way through, someone finally picked my gift, opened it carefully, and looked shell-shocked when they realized what they had just received.

It. Was. Classic.

Then they wanted to know who in tarnation brought the gift and why.

I explained, through fits of giggles, that I spent hours at all the various junk stores and flea markets in town looking for the perfect white elephant gift, and when I saw the unicorn I had to have it – because it was just so ugly and no one would possibly want it. Just as I finish my explanation another co-worker excitedly pipes up and says, “My sister loves unicorns. She collects those figurines!! She’ll love it!” Inevitably she steals the white elephant gift to regift to her sister.

And me? 2 years later, I’m still working on pulling my foot out of my mouth…

Give Thanks!

Turkey-induced comas.

Seconds [and thirds] of a bubbling hashbrown casserole.

Buttery rolls.

Pumpkin Pie.

Pecan Pie.

Apple Pie.

Thanksgiving is upon us and I can’t be happier. Surprising as it may sound, it’s not the food that I look forward to most about Thanksgiving, it’s the time spent with family and friends. The time after the paper plates are put in the trashcan (Don’t judge, we have about half as many dishes to wash compared to you because of this), when everyone is recovering from a meal filled with boisterous laughter and staring in silence at a table covered in shellacked decorative vegetables.

It’s this time when everyone is quiet and together that I value the most. Even though our quiet time together may not last long and there’s still games to be played, it’s at this moment every year when I realize just how lucky I am. I have a family who loves and supports me and friends who laugh with [and at] me. I have a belly full of good home cooking and a smile on my face. I wish we could all be so lucky.

There’s a tradition in my family every Thanksgiving, and I’m sure it’s common among other families, where we go around the table and say what we are thankful for. What great perspective it gives us every year, to remove ourselves from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and just give thanks. It’s magical.

One year [though no one else in my family remembers this, so who knows if it actually happened or if I had a random dream that I confused with reality] someone went above and beyond the typical “I’m thankful for_____” after dinner spiel.

We received a thank you card in the mail. This wasn’t just your run of the mill “Thank you for ____ gift/gesture” card; it was a card thanking us for everything we had done in the last year that had impacted this person. From a smile or hug to a gift and everything in between. Everything they could think of to give thanks that year involving us was meticulously written in the card. I don’t even remember if they sent this card at Thanksgiving or some other time during the year, but it left a lasting impression on a middle school-aged me.

Imagine what the world would be like if we all had time to send a “Thank You” card to our nearest and dearest thanking them for everything they did for us in the last year.

True Life: Procrastinating Grad Student

I came across a post I wrote several years ago for a short-lived collaborative blog with some friends. I’m now in my fourth semester of grad school (I took a break after my first semester to figure out what degree I really wanted) and while now it’s more DVR and needlework distractions than construction projects, apparently I’ll never learn NOT to procrastinate…

{Comments in brackets are my additional thoughts, 3 years later}

As most of you know, I began graduate school this semester and I’ve noticed some things about me and school have not changed. I still thoroughly enjoy procrastinating and the [seemingly] free time it affords me. Here’s a glimpse into one such night:

Monday night, 6pm: Opening the door to my apartment trying to remember what TV shows premiere that night. Oh yes, Chuck…AND The Bachelor…AND Dancing With the Stars. Awesome! I can get my reading done for class tomorrow during the commercial breaks and still enjoy the shows.

{I have no idea how I managed without a DVR back then. PS: I only watched Dancing With The Stars that season because I had recently purchased the show’s first workout DVD and was a bit smitten with Maks}

8pm: Chuck ends, first episode was really good…I might have to add this to my weekly lineup.

{Chuck didn’t stay in my lineup for long}

[hand drops highlighter, picks up remote, and clicks over to ABC for the end of Dancing With the Stars] Since I haven’t fully entered the 21st century yet I have to watch the shows live, gasp, I have no DVR. So sue me. I pick up my computer off my coffee cubes [not to be confused with coffee table] and begin to surf the internet. I needed a study break anyway.

{Still have the coffee cubes, still use the computer, now a MacBook, while I’m watching TV}

8:15 pm: What was it that I told Mom I needed this weekend? Oh yes, that’s right a black bookshelf, preferably one of those nifty little leaning ladder ones, to put in my bedroom. [fingers type walmart.com in FireFox] YES!!!! Wal-Mart has one for $39.99, perfect!!!! [fingers type bank’s URL to check balance] YES!!!!! I have money, I can go buy the bookshelf. [Body proceeds to get up off the couch and walk toward the door, purse and keys in hand]

{Now, it’s been 2 years, at least, since I’ve shopped in a Wal-Mart}

8:25 pm: I pull into Wal-Mart’s parking lot and head towards the furniture, pushing my buggy as I go. Dang! That bookshelf isn’t at this Wal-Mart. Determined to find something I like I press on.

8:40 pm: Find another bookshelf on sale for $20. [SALE = music to my ears] I embark on hoisting the 75 lb box into my cart by myself. Phew. Now I just have to get it into my car.

8:50 pm: Pull into my Apartment Complex and begin to pull 75 lb box towards my apartment door.

8:51 pm: [after getting 3 feet closer to my apt from my car] pant, pant, pant. Why did I think this was a good idea?

8:55 pm: Sigh. How in the Samhill am I gonna get this 75 lb box upstairs to my apartment by myself?

8:57 pm: Nice neighbor boy sees me struggling from his balcony and offers to help. Thank you Lord.

9:00 pm: Bookshelf is finally in my apartment. Construction commences!

9:20 pm: I’ve unloaded all pieces on top of my bed and begin to hammer and screw away until this monstrosity is complete.

9:25 pm: Why?!!?!?!!??!?!?!!?

9:40 pm: Bottom half is completed. Top half is gonna be a booger.

9:50 pm: Why?!!?!?!!??!?!?!!?

10:25 pm: Top half is attached to bottom half and now I have to turn the bookshelf over and attach the back.

10:27 pm: The pieces aren’t even…they don’t match up…argh. Maybe if I flip them around a bit…no…ARGH!!!!!!

{This reminds me of a similar construction project I embarked on with my friend Mandy. It involved a coffee table from IKEA and, 3 months later, it still has no drawers}

10:30 pm: Why do I have to put the back pieces on crooked? I hope this doesn’t look tacky when I’m done.

10:40 pm: 40 long minutes, a crooked back, and a small section of damaged drywall later the bookshelf is in place!

10:45 pm: Is this bookshelf crooked?!?!? DANG! I’m not taking it apart, it’s gonna have to do.

11:00 pm: OH CRAP!!!!! I had 50 pages left to read for class tomorrow….

{Back then, I actually had classes in a classroom. Now, thanks to the wonders of technology, I take all my classes online. It’s a sweet deal}

Tuesday Morning, 12:05 AM: Screw this [no pun intended], I’ve got to get up for work in 6 hours, I’m so done with reading. [arm reaches to turn off light] I’m sound asleep in 10 minutes.

So I ask you, why did I think that at 8:30 buying and constructing a bookshelf sounded like a good idea?

Oh, yeah! Because it was better than reading my graduate school articles.

Why I love to hate the Longhorns

[or: Why you should never skimp on a statue budget]

Saturday night my dear friend Sarah IM’d me about a certain sports discussion board thread had gained her attention for over an hour.

Over an hour? Really?

I needed such a distraction because Adam had just left on a Transatlantic flight to Ireland and my thoughts have been known to go to the worst possible scenario when I have nothing else to think about. Plus there was this thing called grad school that I’ve been known to procrastinate. So with just over an hour until the Razorbacks schooled the Gamecocks, I clicked. And oh how happy I was that I did, because you just can’t make this crap up.

First, Sarah directed me to this: New Longhorns Legend Walk

Basically, directly behind University of Texas Co-Op a Legends Walk of the most legendary Longhorn athletes has been constructed.

Sounds grand enough, right?

Upon closer inspection you’ll notice that (based on the sport)  every. single. statue. is exactly the same, except for skin color. Same facial features even. And if you’re a basketball legend you’re lucky enough to look somewhat like Michael Jordan, and, in some cases, a white Michael Jordan. Or, if you’re lucky enough you might even get a wig! I mean, how awesome is THAT?

The discussion board thread that stole her attention for over an hour can be found here: UT Football, Basketball, Baseball & Golf statues behind Co-op

As you scroll through the 20 some odd pages you’ll see that people started creating Photoshop mashups of the statues in various scenarios, which got our wheels turning. Sarah and I started thinking of movie scenes, posters and pictures to put the statues in. I’d surprise her with a few ideas of my own and email my photoshopped masterpiece to her or she’d send me a picture link and I’d get to work on it, since she didn’t have Photoshop.

We continued this exercise all through the second half of the Razorback game and came up with what we thought were genius ideas. So genius in fact, that we found a similar thread on WooPig.net to post our creations on.

It’s possible that you don’t visit WooPig.net, or are too lazy to click through and find these lovely masterpieces. I totally understand, because who has time to find and read random sports discussion boards? Apparently Sarah and I do.

These Photoshop masterpieces deserve to be shared with the Interwebs.

At least in our opinion they do.

Before I share these, I need to say thanks to the UT Co-Op:

Thanks for funding the most hideous statues in the history of sports statues. This Hog fan sure loves an excuse to laugh at your expense. And yes, I’m fully aware the SWC no longer exists, but my parents raised me right.

OMG that there twister's gonna git me!!!

 

Run Away!

 

Why so serious?

 

Save me! Nutt's a'gonna git me.

Happy Halloween

Confession: I’m not really a big Halloween fan. Mainly because I absolutely despise scary movies. Take for example the fact that Scream and Scary Movie (the movie that parodies scary movies) scare me. The whole obsession with horrifying ghouls and goblins and paranormal activity and haunted houses is lost on me. So yeah, I’m a wuss.

Since I am a past costume winner at the First United Methodist Church in my hometown [I dressed as a rockstar, complete with metallic Tina Turner-esque hair], I do enjoy the idea of dressing up as someone else. I just prefer that costumes involve cheerleaders, raggedy Anns, clowns, and ballerina princesses – not blood, ghosts, guts, or masks.

I like the Halloween innocence of bobbing for apples and participating in cake walks. I also enjoy pranks, as long as they aren’t played on me or, if they are played on me, don’t prey on my phobia of snakes or give me nightmares.

When you’re raised in a large 100-year old Victorian home it just seems to make Halloween easier to celebrate. The large front porch, the windows that sometimes rattled in the wind, occasional creaks when a door was opened…I’m sure it’s a Halloween enthusiast’s dream. I remember years of my dad putting on scary masks [somehow, when he put them on it wasn’t much different than his normal appearance. I kid. I kid.] and handing out treats while my mom had a spooky Halloween cassette tape playing for added effect. Later, they got even more into it, with jack-o-lanterns on the steps and spider webs stretched over the door frame. But, I think my favorite Halloween memory is the year my dad rigged up a ghost, which my mom had made from a white sheet and newspaper, with fishing line to mysteriously raise up in front of trick-or-treaters when my masked 6’8″ dad opened the spider webbed door.

That year? One kid was so scared he bolted off the front porch, through the yard, and back to his parents’ car. Without getting any candy.