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Monday, December 07, 2009

Dear Walmart

Dear Walmart,

I hate you. Not just hate like "I hate traffic" or "I hate Snuggie commercials." No, I loathe you.
I am not the kind of person who hates arbitrarily. It takes a lot to earn my loathing, but earn it you have.

I've known for several years now that you are an evil empire, but I have continued to give you my money. I mean, at least you aren't Kmart, right? They've allied themselves with the Antichrist herself, Martha Stewart. Recently though, I have come to believe that you, Walmart, are the spawn of Satan. Your doors are a portal to the Underworld. You are the corporate equivalent of the Taliban.

I tried to ignore the fact that most of your merchandise was made in foreign countries by underpaid (possibly underage) workers. I tried to overlook the despicable way you treat your American employees. This time, Walmart, you have gone too far.

It has become increasingly difficult for me to find the things I like to buy at your store. It seems as if every time I find a product I really like, you stop carrying it. First it was my body wash. I really loved that body wash. But it suddenly disappeared from your shelves and has never returned. Same thing with my ice cream, coffee, green tea, and a number of other products.

Why? Is there some kind of conspiracy to make me crazy? I bought that stuff all the time, so I know there was a demand for it. I was perfectly willing to give you my money in exchange for my favorite products, but no. You want more. One of my children perhaps.

Fortunately for me, there is my little hometown grocery store. They have all the things I need and so much more that you, Walmart, do not. It's not like I'm looking for something exotic or unusual (although my local grocery store carries tahini and prosciutto and Walmart carries neither.) I just want the basics: decent meat and produce at a reasonable price, good milk that costs less than and arm and a leg, and a little friendly service. My local grocery store has all of that. The produce is excellent, and most of it is locally grown. The meats are great as well, and very reasonably priced. I can get really good milk for less than 3 bucks. And to top it all off, the employees are helpful and friendly. The cashiers actually talk to you while they check you out. The baggers not only bag your groceries, they offer to take them to your car for you. At Walmart, I can't even get a cashier to put my stuff in my cart. They just pile it all up on the counter and expect me to juggle that, my money, and a three-year-old on my own.

Walmart, you have failed. You and your wilted produce and over-priced, poor-quality meats have fallen short. It doesn't help either that you've given rack space to the shrieking Harpy, Miley Cyrus. You call yourself a superstore, but you're really nothing but a bargain basement for all things unholy.

I thoroughly and completely detest and abhor you, Walmart. You've had the last of my hard-earned (or not-so-hard-earned) money. Farewell, you merchant of misery. I will see you at Armageddon.

Most Sincerely,
Amy

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Now that it's officially December I feel it's more appropriate to discuss holiday matters. Before December 1st it just feels silly. Since I changed the calendar and had my first eggnog latte of the season this morning, I'm feeling festive. So, here we go.

Radio stations have been playing Christmas music for a while now, and I have been preparing my Top Ten List of Favorite Christmas Songs. Most of the songs on my list have a special meaning to me. Some are just musically appealing, while others have special memories associated with them.

Number 10: Adeste Fideles sung by Pavarotti- Even before I was old enough to really understand who Pavarotti was, I adored this song. To me it represents the grandeur and awe that surrounds this season. Beautifully orchestrated, it always makes me think of the music of Heaven on that first Christmas night. And with the Maestro singing, it's heaven indeed.

Number 9: Let it Snow sung by Michael Buble- I love this jazzed up version of the classic holiday song. It makes me want to bundle up and build a snowman. Unfortunately, snow is a rare thing in these parts, and if it did snow I wouldn't get to build a snowman. I would have to join the throng at the grocery store to buy bread and milk. *Sigh*

Number 8: The Christmas Song sung by Nat King Cole- How can you not love the velvety voice of Nat King Cole singing about folks dressed up like Eskimos? Classic.

Number 7: Santa Baby- Madonna does a version of this song that, I must admit, makes me smile. It's such a cute song anyway, and when you sing it like Betty Boop it just gets better!

Number 6: The Twelve Days of Christmas sung by Jim Henson's muppets- Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a sucker for muppets. This song always makes me laugh. Especially Miss Piggy singing "Five Gold Rings...ba dum bum bum!"

Number 5: White Christmas sung by Bing Crosby- This song plays twenty-zillion times a day on the Christmas station, but twenty-zillion times a day I listen and sigh. Ahhhh...Bing.

Number 4: Jingle Bell Rock- A fond memory comes to mind whenever I hear this song. When my older son, Timothy, was very small, he loved this song. Any time it came on we had to stop and dance together. Any time. At home, in the grocery store, or in the middle of the mall, we had to dance together.

Number 3: Christmas in Dixie- Okay, so even though I live in this state, I'm not a huge fan of the group Alabama. I do like this song though. It reminds me of the years that I lived up North. During the holidays I would listen to this song and miss my grandparents so much. When I hear it now I have to smile because I get to spend Christmas in Dixie!

Number 2: Feliz Navidad- This is another song that plays twenty-zillion times a day on the Christmas station, but I love it! Every time it comes on I turn up the volume and "canto" my little heart out!

Number 1: O Holy Night- Whether it's Josh Groban, Michael Crawford, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, or the Celtic Women singing, I love this song! It's beautiful in every way. The music is sublime, and the words are so powerful and moving. "A thrill of Hope; the weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new a glorious morn." Wow. You can't get much better than that. Well, unless you get Josh or Michael or Celine or Mariah or the Celtic Women to sing it.

There you have it, my Top Ten List of Favorite Christmas Songs. What are yours?

*Soon to come: the Top Ten List of Least Favorite Christmas Songs: a compilation of songs that make Sam the Snowman want to sit in a toaster oven.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Perspective

I am ashamed to say that I spent most of yesterday in whine mode. I woke up yesterday with some sinus and nasal trouble, I had a list of things to do, I was a teensy bit stressed about the upcoming show, and I really felt sorry for my poor little self. I mean, what a horrible thing it is to have a head cold! There was also the fact that my older son was out of school and he and his brother had to get in some "torture time."

I went in to town and left the boys with my mom so I could do some shopping. I had five Operation Christmas Child boxes to fill before Sunday, and time was running out. For those of you who don't know what Operation Christmas Child is, I'll explain. Every year in November, churches and organizations all over the country fill up shoe boxes with toys and trinkets for children around the world who wouldn't otherwise receive anything for Christmas. It's become a tradition in my family to take part, and we all really enjoy it. This year, however, I was a little stressed about it. I had been so busy with the show that I had not had the time to spend on the project that I would have liked. The show itself was another source of stress, but I'll get to that in a minute. Anyway, I headed out to find stuff for the shoe boxes, but I wasn't in a very "Christmasy" mood. I felt sick and stressed and really just wanted to sit down and cry.

Something occurred to me though. I really have little to whine about. I have a cold. Boo hoo. I could be so much sicker. My kids could be ill, but they're not. They're healthy enough to run wild and drive me crazy. And they need absolutely nothing. They're some of the fortunate ones who'll (hopefully) never have to make do with a shoe box full of odds and ends. I should be thankful that I'm the one filling the shoe boxes and not the one waiting and praying for a Christmas miracle.

This always seems to happen to me around this time of year. I get to the point where I'm so focused inward that I can't see all the blessings that have been laid at my feet. Sure, there's tons to do, but at least I'm strong and well enough to do it. Things could be so much worse! My schedule is currently jam-packed with holiday activities, and instead of worrying myself into a tizzy over the upcoming Christmas Tea, I should just chill and be glad I'm surrounded by loving friends and family.

As for the show, I'm feeling better about that too. We had a good final rehearsal last night, and I think everything will come together. If not, well... it's been a blast anyway. I should take a cue from the characters in the show. They're all simple folks, but they do extraordinary things when the people and places they love are threatened. Family and community is a huge part of their lives, and they are all willing to fight for them.

I really live a charmed life. I don't have much to legitimately worry about. I'm not rich, but my family never goes without food. My house is warm and peaceful. My country has problems, but it's still the greatest country in the world. My family will all be together for the holidays.

I'll probably end up stressed and whiny a few more times before the New Year, but I'm only human. I hope I'll take another minute to think about how blessed I really am.

***A special note of thanks to some folks who helped me put things back into perspective yesterday:

*The man in the store who stopped me and told me how good God is. Yes sir, He sure is.

*My husband who has taken over as Mom and Dad so I could do the show. You rock, Baby!

*My little Paulie who requested prayer for me at church last night.

*My cast mates who made me laugh even when I didn't feel like it.

*God for reminding me of all the blessings that I don't deserve but He has given me anyway.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I Saw the Light

Most people who know me know that I am horribly night-blind. What is dim light to other people is near total darkness to me. I don't know why. It just seems to be a family trait. Yippee. I have had some really horrific experiences as a result of this little genetic defect. Most of them have happened on or near a stage. For those of you not familiar with the stage, it gets dark. When those bright stage lights go down, it is DARK. There is a reason it's called blackout. Most normal people's eyes have the ability to quickly adjust to this sudden change, but alas, I am abnormal. My eyes don't adjust. It's just dark. For like, forever.

I remember going to the planetarium when I was in elementary school, and sitting on the floor as the lights went out. All my friends starting oohing and aahing over the stars and I was thoroughly confused. I didn't see diddly.

Anyway, back to the stage. When the lights go down on stage, I usually have to enlist a fellow cast member to lead me off-stage. This is for my own safety, since I have a tendency to walk into set pieces or even off the stage platform. My local theater recently performed The Miracle Worker, and I must admit, I briefly considered auditioning for the role of Helen Keller. I can play blind.

Right now, I'm in a show called Southern Hospitality. I haven't had too many stage light issues yet, but I did run into a problem last night on my way to rehearsal. I am currently having some sinus and allergy issues, and they've worked their nasty little way into my eyes. I was instructed by my doctor not to wear my contacts for a few days. No problem, except that leaves me wearing my sadly understrength glasses. I've had my glasses for several years, and I usually only wear them right before and after bed. I recently ordered a totally cute new pair, but they won't be ready for another week or so. So, last night I had to wear the weak glasses. To drive. About 30-45 miles. Along a really dark and winding country road.

Needless to say, I was a little scared. Thanks to the time change, it was nearly dark when I left my house at 5:00pm. I didn't know how the heck I was going to make it. I was straining my eyes so hard I just knew I was going to get a migraine. Then, out of nowhere, this truck pulled out in front of me. It was a huge truck with red flashing tail-lights and a line of yellow blinking lights along the top of the cab. I rode behind that truck for several minutes before I realized what was happening. As I watched those blinking lights, I thought, 'It's leading me!' Suddenly, I felt completely at peace. I knew I was going to be okay. God was up there watching out for his little blind lamb, and He had provided a guide to lead me through the dark. The truck stayed in front of me the whole way, and I arrived safely at my destination.

It still amazes me how He steps in even when we don't ask. Sometimes, we don't even notice. I can't help but feel completely loved knowing that in the midst of all His busy doings: fighting the Forces of Evil, keeping the Universe perfectly together, He will take the time to send me just what I need before I even ask.

Now, I shared all that to say this. If you are struggling, stumbling around in the darkness, unsure of where to turn, put your trust in Him. He'll reach out His hand and lead you to safety. He'll send you a light to guide you along your path. He won't leave you in the dark. He is the Light, after all.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:4-5

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Life Without the Magic Box

Last week was one of the longest weeks of my life. Not only was I sick and medicated within an inch of my life, my computer was gone. There was an empty space in the little cubby-hole where the thing usually sits and a sad little jumble of wires and cords beneath the computer desk.

I didn't realize how much of my life was on that machine until it was gone. Everything, I mean EVERYTHING is on my computer: my calendar, my phone book, my address book, news, weather, personal communications, work... Suddenly, I was cut off from the entire world. I didn't know how to get in touch with anyone. Sure, I have a phone, but what good is it when all my phone numbers are stored on my computer? I didn't have a clue about what was going on in the world. I couldn't even check the weather without turning on the television and waiting for a weather report. How archaic!

By Saturday, I had an irresistable urge to draw charcoal pictures of mastodons on my living- room walls. Luckily, there was football to satisfy my new itch for primitive violence. But even with Bama giving Tennessee what-for, I was disappointed that I couldn't post snide remarks about the game on Facebook.

Yesterday, my little friend returned. I was overjoyed when that big blue button lit up and it whirred to life once more. I spent the next hour or so dealing with a back-log of email and Facebook updates. I read the news. I checked the weather. I updated my Yahoo! avatar. It felt goooooood.

Welcome home, oh prodigal PC. Don't ever leave me again and force me to buy actual newspapers and watch the Weather Channel. You and coffee and a kiss from my husband begin my day. Stay and keep me informed and connected. I will keep you dusted and protected from surges. I promise.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

To the Glory That Was...Goth?

Tomorrow is the 160th anniversary of the death of Edgar Allan Poe. In honor of this event I decided to decorate another web page with pictures and other graphics featuring Poe. While searching through numerous picture hosting sites for said pictures and graphics, I found myself growing increasingly agitated by the number of idiots in black that have laid claim to dear Eddy. How the he... heck did he become an icon to goths and emos? Sure, he was a bit dark, but I doubt that if he lived today he would be shopping at Hot Topic.

Why do these Depeche Mode-listening, black lipstick-wearing, combat boot-sporting, posers think they have a right to assume that he belongs to them? They tattoo "Nevermore" on various parts of their pale bodies and spout "The Raven" every chance they get (mainly because it's the only poem of his that they know.) They know nothing about the man, but somehow he is the poster boy for their movement.

FYI, freaks. Poe was not a goth. He would probably look at you guys and think, 'Wow, that's weird.' Yes, I know he wrote strange, twisted stuff, but that hardly qualifies him to start wearing eye-liner. He also wrote lovely, sweet, even humorous things.

And don't let the pictures fool you, emo kids. If you had to sit perfectly still for up to five minutes just to have your photograph taken, you would look a bit unhappy and droopy too.

The point of this rant is not to slam goths or emos. If that's what you guys want to do with your lives, that's your business. Just learn something about the people you take as idols. You may find out that they have nothing whatsoever in common with who you are or pretend to be. And when someone asks you who your favorite poet is, don't say Poe. Throw them for a loop and say Emily Dickinson.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dear God...

Remember when I prayed for patience? Yeah, well I take that back. What I want now is a maid service. Or a carpet shampooer. Or maybe just a bathtub full of Calgon.

Paulie is an adorable child. He's got a head full of sweet curls, and big brown eyes that will just make you melt. He looks like a cross between an angel and the world's cutest puppy. The only problem is the angel is Lucifer and the puppy is Cerberus.

Okay, maybe that's a tad dramatic. After all, he's not a really a hellian. He just seems to find/attract mischief. So far, we've had to tie the fridge closed to keep him from trying to make another omelet in the living room. We've had to put doorknob covers on the door to the pantry to keep him from helping himself to oatmeal and uncooked macaroni. We've had to tie up the kitchen cabinets, lock the screen door, and move any furniture that can be used to climb to the tops of the counters.

Today, while I was doing laundry, Paulie discovered my container of coffee mate. It ended up being dumped in the sink and in the floor in his bedroom. It looked like Lindsay Lohan sneezed in there. I put him in the Time-Out chair and he was so pitiful. He said, "But Mommy, I don't wanna be in trouble. I'll be nice!" I didn't break though. I made him sit there, and then we had a little chat about making messes and getting into stuff without asking. He came to me later with those big brown eyes and said, "Mommy, I'm sorry I made a mess. Are we still friends?"

What do I do with that? I gave him a big hug and told him that I would always be his friend. He slipped away happily to watch Yo Gabba Gabba, and was left wondering what I can do with my little angel/demon. Sometimes I swear, he's going to make me lose my marbles. He'll drive me to my absolute breaking point, and just before I check myself into the loony-bin, he comes to me and turns on the charm.

He's a handful, but I honestly wouldn't trade him. He's full of mischief, but he's also full of music and humor and sweetness. He's a funny little guy and I never cease to be amazed by him.

Amazed and exhausted.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tee hee! I Said Duty!

Yesterday I had my first experience with the American court system. I was called for jury duty. At five-thirty (also known as the butt-crack of dawn) yesterday morning, I got in my car and drove for about an hour to a federal building a few cities over. I had no idea what to expect, but my husband had prepared me a bit for the experience.

"Take a book," he told me. I did. I took my brand-spanking new Poe biography (number 15 in the Poe book collection.) It's about as thick as a family Bible, so I figured it would last me for a while. Funny, how authors can stretch 40 years over 700+ pages.

"You should probably take a sweater," advised my husband. I wasn't so sure about that one. After all, this is August in the south where the average low is about 96 degrees. I ended up taking my little white zip-up sweater, and I was glad I did. Apparently, the Federal Court system is run by polar bears who must maintain arctic temperatures at all times. Don't listen to Noah Wyle. The polar bears aren't dying out; they're just becoming judges. Of course, the thermostat may have been lowered in order to keep the reptilian lawyers from becoming too warm and lethargic.

"They may not even choose you," my husband told me. Again, he was correct. After sitting for about two-and-a-half hours, answering a boat-load of personal questions, and reading about three chapters of my book, I was excused. Yippee.

I was really pretty happy about not being chosen, though the whole process bore a painful resemblance to team picking in fifth grade PE. Still, I didn't have to get up before the chickens this morning and endure a long day on an extremely uncomfortable wooden chair listening to an extremely boring civil suit. And I still get paid for yesterday, 55 cents for every round-trip mile, and an attendance fee on top of that.

When I get my check, maybe I'll buy book number 16.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

School Daze

Rant Warning!

I spent the better part of this morning getting my son registered for fourth grade. He's transferring this year, so I had to drive 30+ miles to his old school to pick up his shot records, report card, test scores, etc. That wasn't a problem though.

No, the problem was the manila folder I was given at the school to which he'll be transferring. I counted on paperwork. I knew I would have to fill out address forms and emergency contact forms and allergy notification forms. I didn't count on having to fill out a dozen forms explaining that my children and I do not live in a tent or camper, we are not migrant workers, and English is the official language in our home.

Okay, I know there are cases when such things are needful, but come on! What the heck? I was so tempted to fill out the forms stating that I am a traveling gypsy, that I speak only Swahili, and I live in a van down by the river.

I just want to put my kid in fourth grade, not apply for a government bailout. Maybe all those forms are just to help the folks who really have had it rough in this sucky economy, but do I really need to fill them all out? Maybe I should just ignore it and be thankful that I can look at those forms and be mildly annoyed. I am pretty blessed, after all.

No, Mr. Board of Education man, I don't need you to give my child free lunches. No, we live in a nice, cozy house down by the lake. No, we all speak fluent English (Paulie knows some Spanish and Chinese.) No, we have reliable transportation. Yes, my children are in a safe home environment. Sure, I can donate some crayons and scissors. You're welcome.

End Rant.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Men Are From Mars, Little Boys Are From Planet Spaz


Little boys are funny. Like funny ha-ha, and funny weird. My boys are especially...er, unique. The older one is quite the dramatist. I don't know where he gets that. He can't bear to make a mistake, or do something wrong. If he does break a rule, it eats at him until he must confess, even if no one knows about it but him. The confessions themselves are elaborate productions involving many tears and sighs. It's hard to be angry when the child drapes his arm dramatically across his forehead and proclaims, "I admit it! I did it!"

The younger one could hardly care less about rules and regulations. He just wants to have a good time. We've recently had to purchase those white plastic things that go over the doorknobs to keep him out of the pantry. He likes to help himself to oatmeal and uncooked macaroni.

He got a big-boy bed for his birthday, and that has posed its own challenges. I decided to put one of those door-knob thingies on the knob inside his room to keep him from getting out and roaming around the house and possibly the neighborhood. He can't get out now, but the other day he decided to channel his inner rock star and trashed his room. And by trashed, I mean TRASHED. He pulled the mattress up out of his bed and tore off the sheets. He overturned all of his shoe and toy boxes. He found a container of baby powder and made it snow all over every surface in his room.

I put him in his Time-Out chair until I could get the mess cleaned up. He sputtered and sobbed and told me how sorry he was and that he would never make a big mess again. I let him get up, and he ran into the livingroom where he proceeded to tear all the tissues out of the tissue box.

For the most part, my boys are very well-behaved. They are polite and well-mannered. The little one is at that stage where he wants to challenge authority, but he's usually a very sweet little guy. The other day he informed me that I am his "girl." He loves to play a game that my oldest and I made up when he was little, called "I Love You More Than..." We take turns telling each other what we love each other more than. For example, I'll say, "I love you more than chocolate sauce." And he'll say, "I love you more than baby monkeys." It's very sweet.

Boys can be challenging. They don't sit and play quietly with dolls or tea sets like a lot of little girls do. Boys like to run around and take things apart and see how stuff works. Boys like to make mud and get really, REALLY dirty. Boys are noisy, and wild, and completely...well they're wonderful.

*At least the little guy's room now has that new baby smell.*


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Tony and Rachael: Don't Make Me Choose!

I am a woman torn in two. Pulled in two opposite directions like a Thanksgiving turkey bone. Two of my favorite television personalities are at war, and have been for some time. I am of course referring to the war of words going on between Rachael Ray and Anthony Bourdain. What, you say? There's something on TV besides Michael Jackson documentaries? *Sigh*

Truth-be-told, I love them both. Tony is an arrogant, foul-mouthed, rebel rockstar chef, and I love him for it. Rachael is perky (annoyingly so at times) obsessed with extra-virgin olive oil, and a media darling, but I love her for that too.

As much as I hate to see her dissed, Tony has a valid argument against Rachael. She's no Julia Child. But then, she never said she was or tried to be. And even more, why doesn't Tony put down the crispy roasted pork skin and go on television and show me how to make some frou-frou fancy french food, if that's so important?

I feel like a child caught in the middle of a nasty divorce.
Daddy says, "Mommy thinks she's Julia Child, but she's really just a Ho-Jo waitress."
Mommy says, "Maybe if I send Daddy a fruit basket, he'll love me again."

Why can't you guys get along? You have so much in common! You love food and travel, you're both New Yorkers...
Maybe that's it. Maybe it's not a divorce, but a simple high school romance. Yes, that's it. Tony is the rebel ne'er-do-well who secretly has a crush on the cute, perky head cheerleader. Of course, he picks on her in order to hide his true feelings! Eureka!

I can see it all; the Food Network/Travel Channel cafeteria. Rachael sits with Bridget and Dhani at the popular kids' table. Tony (who is about to be suspended again for writing "for a good time call RR" on the bathroom wall) sits in a far corner with Andrew Zimmern.
"What do you have for lunch?" Andrew asks Tony.
"Goat testicles," Tony replies.
"Cool. I have fried monkey brains. Wanna trade?"

Meanwhile, Samantha Brown buzzes around from table to table asking if anyone wants to see her pictures from Brazil. Everyone says no.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Giving a New Meaning to Finger Sandwiches

I've been watching this show on the Discovery Channel about a group of people who have been dropped in the Alaskan wilderness and are trying to find their way out. It's a bit like Survivor, but without the million dollars, the back-stabbing, the secret alliances, etc. Okay, so it's not like Survivor at all.

Anyway, nine people were given survival training and then left in the middle of Alaska to put that training to the test. The people involved are not survivalists, just regular folks with a wide range of backgrounds and vocations.

So far, the show has been very interesting. There are only five people left now after just over three weeks. The other four opted to leave after finding themselves unable to cope with being in the wild. The rest have banded together as a team and put their training to use. Last week, the young female bus driver went on a killing spree, shooting a duck and another bird, and taking a shovel to a squirrel. All those creatures went into the stew pot in an attempt to combat the team's constant hunger.

As I've watched the show, I've wondered: Would I make it in the Alaskan wilderness? I'm not sure. I would like to think that I could hack it out. Let's consider the conditions:

1. The cold.
Normally, I could do without freezing temperatures and snow. I do not like to be cold. However, with the recent onset of some truly heinous hot-flashes, those sub-zero temperatures are looking mighty comfortable.

2. The shelter.
The team has been staying in shelters ranging from crashed planes to hunting cabins. They've slept in beds, on the floor, and on the ground. I can sleep just about anywhere. Just give me a sleeping bag to burrow into and I'm good to go.

3. The hunting and fishing.
I love to fish. I'm not a big hunter. I've never held a gun, much less fired one. However, I think if I got hungry enough I could take down Bambi or any of his little forest friends. And that brings me to the last point and my Achilles Heel.

4. The lack of food.
The team is constantly searching for food, but they can never find enough and are on a mainly subsistence diet. That would not work for me. I need food. I am hypoglycemic (severely, I believe.) I don't just get weak or faint. I get ill and really grumpy when I'm hungry. It would not do for me to be cooped up with a bunch of people in a little cabin when I have a rumbly in my tumbly. Giving me a gun in those conditions would be a disastrous idea. I can just see the helicopter landing to pick everybody up and there I am sitting by the campfire with my belly bulging.

"Where did the rest of the team go?" the pilot asks.

"They went on a hunt," I answer.

"Burp."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

If Inner Beauty is What Counts, Why Do I Own So Much Lip-Gloss?

The world is obsessed with beauty. I suppose that's natural. We've been this way from the beginning. Beauty equals health equals good stock equals descendants equals immortality. It's in our genetic makeup to seek out the beautiful people.

Perhaps that's why I see them everywhere I go: on television, in magazines, on billboards, in movies. I'm like Haley-Joel Osmet in The Sixth Sense.

"I see pretty people..."

I've tried my best to avoid becoming overly occupied with my appearance. It's hard though, when I feel compared to modern moms like Halle Berry and Angelina Jolie. Ok, so maybe no one outwardly compares me to Angelina Jolie, but I still feel it. I suppose if I had a gazillion dollars I could hire the trainers and food experts and make-up artists and stylists that Angelina has access to. But I don't, and I don't mind.

I'm a real woman and I have a real life to think about that doesn't include adding to a Children of the World Collection. I have laundry to do and floors to sweep and dinners to cook. Besides, I don't look that bad. I consider myself moderately attractive. I have some really good days where I look at myself in the mirror and think, "Heck yeah!"

Of course, there are days when I look at the mirror and think, "Oh crap."

I feel pretty good about myself most days. Especially when I compare how I look now to how I looked in Junior High. In those days I went through a rather unfortunate and unbearably lengthy "awkward phase." I had weird hair, bad skin, and absolutely no curves. I know what you're thinking. "What's changed?"

Anyhoo, I was very skinny, but very short. It would have been fine if I had been tall and skinny, but no. I looked like an anorexic munchkin. Not cute. My classmates took great pains to constantly remind me that I was an ugly duckling. That does bad stuff to your psyche. I have since had problems with low self-esteem, but I'm overcoming that. I'm almost there.

I've come to realize over time that even without outward beauty, I'm a worthwhile human being. I'm pretty smart, I have some talent, and I'm kind. (I'm also very humble as you can see from my shameless listing of attributes.) And now, I even think I'm kind of cute. I'm still short, but now I have some curves ( some good curves, some not.) My hair is still a bit weird, but people tell me all the time that my hair color is beautiful. You can't get this shade of red from a box, girls.

Outward beauty will fade. And while it's really no consolation that some day Angelina will look like a Sunsweet prune, it helps to know that I have things to fall back on. So, I'm not a super-model. Big deal. I'm a super mom. I have people in my life who love me even when I have no make-up on and my hair is pulled up into a frizzy ponytail. That makes me happier than having big pouty lips or flat abs.

Life is beautiful.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Si. Mi chiamano Mimi


As much as I adore my children and the wonderful position of Mother, there is something unique and special about being an aunt. I suppose it's a bit like being a grandparent. Nieces and nephews are children you can spoil without guilt. They're the little people who will call you and want to move in with you when Mom and Dad are being "totally mean." They're the ones you can tell all the funny and embarrassing stories about your brother and/or sister. Ex. One time, I had a friend over, and your mom came in and said, "Look! I have on Little Mermaid panties!"


My one and only nephew is only a year old at the moment, but I already have plans to spoil him rotten. After all, I probably won't get to see him that much. My brother-in-law is in the Army and they're getting ready to move off again. They've been away since Christmas, but Carson still remembers his Aunt Amy. Before they left, he was calling me May-mee. Now, that has transformed into Mimi, and I have to admit, I love it. I am Aunt Mimi. No one else calls me that. I think I may have a license plate made with that on it, or maybe a t-shirt. Aunt Mimi.


I am reminded of the episode of Friends when Ben was born, and new aunt Monica promised, "I will always have gum." That kind of sums it up for me. I want to be that kind of aunt. The one Carson can look to for advice, or support, or defense, or just candy. I will always be ready with any of those.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'de Like to Thank the Academy...

I would like to thank the Academy for the wonder that is Hugh Jackman. What's not to love? He sings, he dances, he acts, he's friggin' Wolverine! Not to mention he's Australian, and I have an obession for all things Aussie. I thought the opening number was awesome, especially the cheesy "homemade" props. And speaking of props, cheers to Anne Hathaway for her Nixon. She really doesn't have a terrible voice. Call me, Anne, and we'll set up some voice lessons. I'll learn ya real good.

I normally don't bother to watch award shows other than the Tonys. They just get a bit tedious with all the speeches and montages and extraneous awards (Yay, Jerry Lewis!) I do appreciate the fact that the shows have been whittled down a bit by setting aside all the little awards like Best Camera Lens Changer Person, Best Makeup Brush Holder Lady, and Best Coke Bringer to Diva's Trailer Dude. They all get their own ceremony prior to the real show, I believe. Isn't that special.

Okay, so back to Oscar and Hugh. I don't care what the morons at Yahoo! say, I liked the showtunes medley with Hugh and Beyonce and company. For one thing, I love showtunes and will randomly burst into one at any time without warning. For another thing, I love medleys. What's better than a showtune? A whole medley of showtunes! Throw in Beyonce and Hugh and yeah, even Zac and Vanessa, and I'm a happy girl.

The main reason I watched 29+ hours of awards show (besides seeing Hugh Jackman) was to see whether or not Kate Winslet won Best Actress. She did, and I did my patented Woo-hoo Dance in my living room. I love Kate. I have since 1997 when she was in that movie with the boat and the iceberg. She looked gorgeous, as always, and I was so happy that she won and Angelina didn't.

Other memorables* Tim Gunn on the red carpet. Ben Stiller's Joaquin Phoenix. Miley Cyrus's I-think-I'm-a-Christmas-Tree dress. The Ledger family. A singing, dancing, Hugh Jackman.

Oh, what a night.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Friday's Faves

Like Oprah and Maria von Trapp, I have my favorite things. Unfortunately, I don't have a


ba-jillion dollars like Oprah that would allow me to give my favorite things away to everyone I know. Unlike Maria, I can't fit them all into a snappy song that people will mistakenly sing at Christmas time. However, I can blog about them. So on that note, here we go.







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BCX Sateen Belted Trench Coat:



The piece pictured above is one of my better wardrobe purchases. I own it in orange. I bought it back at the end of summer in Atlanta, and since then I have worn the heck out of it. It happens to be perfect for Spring because it's light enough for those not-so-cold days, yet it keeps off the rain and chill. Not to mention the fact that it looks AMAZING.







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Caress Exotic Oil Infusions Moroccan Body Wash:



I love this body wash! It smells incredible and leaves my skin silky smooth. Unfortunately, Wal-Mart has stopped carrying this particular scent. (Like I need another excuse to hate Wal-Mart.) It is still available, and cheaper, at Fred's.







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Jello Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate Pudding:



This pudding is perfect for those who, like me, have a serious chocolate addiction but still want to eat smart. Unlike some sugar-free stuff, this doesn't have that funky aftertaste. It just tastes great! One container is only 60 calories. However, it adds up if you can't stop at one, which is a distinct possiblilty. It's that yummy.






*If you happen to be bored over the weekend or just need to fill some time, I have a suggestion. Go to YouTube and type in Misheard Lyrics. Some of the vids that pop up may give you at least a chuckle. Some are incredibly lame, but some are truly awesomely funny.



There they are. This Friday's Faves. Check 'em out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stop Honking Your Horn, I'm Trying to Text!

I consider myself to be somewhat technologically knowledgable. However, when it comes to communications gadgetry, I just don't get it. I mean, I know what all the stuff is for. I just don't know why. Take those ridiculous bluetooth headsets for instance. What the heck? I always have to do a double-take when I see those crazed people walking around talking to themselves. At least it looks that way. Does anyone really need one of those things? Maybe doctors, or stock brokers, or secret service agents. I don't think most average human beings need a phone attached to their ears. Probably at some point this will evolve into a device that's implanted directly into a person's head. It'll be a rite of passage to get it, like having your ears pierced. When you turn 2, your mom will take you to the mall to get your first bluetooth implant. Mazel tov!

I don't really understand the whole texting craze either. If you have a phone and can talk directly to a person, why don't you stick with that? Didn't we have something like texting 100+ years ago? What was that called? Oh yeah, the TELEGRAPH. Texting just seems like a step backwards to me. Is the next step a phone that transmits Morse Code? Or better yet, a phone that sends out smoke signals. "Here's my number if you want to smoke me..."

My current phone is very basic. It makes calls. That's it. It doesn't take pictures. It doesn't play games or music or take x-rays or tell the future. It just makes calls. How quaint, right? Yep, at the ripe old age of 31, I just don't get these young folks and their newfangled doodads. When I was a teenager, we just had pagers. They were like caller ID without the phone. You got a buzz or a beep on your hip and then a little blinking number to let you know to call someone. Ah, those were the days.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spring Fling


Don't tease me, Spring. Don't lead me on. You've shown up a tad early even though that stupid groundhog said you'de be away for at least six more weeks. So, what's the deal? Are you going to stick around long enough for me to dig out my floral prints and then ditch, leaving me scrambling for my thermals? Don't do that. Again.

If you're going to show up, at least consider staying for a while. I can't take it when you lure me into a false sense of security and then run off. You leave me sad and cold and wondering what went wrong. We can make this work, Spring. Make yourself comfortable. There's no pressure for a long term commitment. You're welcome to leave in a few months. But for now, stay. Cozy up with me and make me feel alive again. You won't be sorry.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Good Morning, Wisteria Lane! Let's Cook Up Some Ectoplasm Because the Angels Have the Phonebox!

I'm no longer an avid TV watcher. I can't just sit in front of the tube and flip aimlessly until I find something mildly entertaining. I do, however, have a few shows I watch regularly.
On Sunday evenings I watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, mainly because Paulie likes it so much. He's so darn cute when he stands in front of the TV and yells "Good morning *whatever* family!" He has to scream "Move that bus!" as well.
Ty grates on my nerves, and it's all a bit cheesy at times, but it's sweet too and gives me warm fuzzy feelings. After I watch I usually decide to start some kind of charity that by Monday morning I've forgotten completely about.
After the home makeovers, comes my current favorite guilty pleasure, Desperate Housewives. I love this show. I have to wonder though how a nice street like Wisteria Lane came to house so many psychos and jail birds. Every guy on the show has been to jail. Weird. This seasons' resident psycho is Edie's new husband, Dave. He's a total creep who may or may not be after Mike and Susan or Mike and Katherine or just Mike. I dunno.
Last week's episode (or rather the week before's episode) revolved around the previously unknown handyman Eli Scruggs and the various ways he left his mark on Wisteria Lane. I have to give the writers cred for making me cry over a character I had not seen before. Yay, 100th episode writers.

On Wednesday nights, Don and I watch Top Chef. Normally, I don't do reality shows, but this one is not bad, so I watch it. It's full of lovable and hateable characters, and then there are the contestants. This seasons' lovable/hateable duo comes courtesy of Europe. Fabio is the Italian Stallion who oozes charm and attitude and some cooking talent. He is lovable to me because he takes no guff from the judges, once offering to cook "monkey a** with fried banana" if that's what it took to please them.
Stefan, on the other hand is a complete jerk. He is an awesome chef, but he knows it. He's won a lot of challenges and loves to remind the other chefs of exactly how many. I had to laugh my butt off last Wednesday during the Super Bowl challenge when he picked what he thought would be an easy target, but lost big time. To a girl. Take that, Germany or Austria, or wherever the heck he's from.
Next on Wednesday's lineup for me is Ghost Hunters International because I like to have the crap scared out of me right before I go to bed. A band of "scientific" ghost busters travel around the globe investigating supposed haunted houses, castles, museums, etc. It's mostly filmed with night vision cameras which gives everybody that kind of creepy pale-eyed look. The crew spends part of an evening in a haunted location using infrared sensors, voice recorders, and other sciencey stuff, and then they look over all the film, video, and recordings for evidence of ghosts. The creepiest things to me are the EVPs. A voice shows up on a recording that doesn't belong to anyone that was present. Spooky.

My favoritiest favorite show is currently on hiatus. Well, for us here in the States anyway. The Brits already got their Christmas special, which thanks to the miracle of YouTube, I was able to watch too. Neener neener, Brits.
I'm speaking of Doctor Who. The greatest show. Ever. It's all about a time and space traveling guy named the Doctor. Just the Doctor. The Doctor is currently played by the impossibly hot David Tennant. Alas, dear Dave will be leaving when the show officially returns in 2010. *tear* Young whippersnapper Matt Smith will be taking over the role, and I have to say, I think he'll do fine. Please don't kill me, fan girls! Anyway, I can't wait for season 5 and more wibbly-wobbly-timey-whimey adventures with the Doc. I need some more fanfic material.

That's about it for my TV viewing, besides the brief snatches of Dora the Explorer and Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends I see as I pass through the living room during the day. Occasionally, I'll watch some kind of documentary on the Discovery or History channel because I'm a documentary nerd. I watched a cool one about Air Force One the other night. If the Mythbusters are blowing up something interesting, I'll watch that too. I don't think they'll ever top the cement truck though. That was like Blink in terms of awesomeness. That's a Doctor Who reference by the way.

"Don't blink."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm Just a Loaf

Lately I've been reading about God doing a lot with a little. My Bible study passage for today dealt with Jesus feeding the multitude with a few fish and a couple of loaves of bread. He took this small, seemingly insignificant lunch and turned it into a feast for thousands of people. Timothy read a similar story last night from his reading book. This one was about the widow with the handful of meal and cruse of oil. When she was obedient to God, her meal and oil didn't run out.
I find it interesting that God didn't necessarily make more loaves and fish or meal and oil. He didn't poof more bread and fish in front of the crowd. He didn't miraculously fill the widow's pantry with food either. He used the little that was there and got a lot from it.
I can relate this to myself. I am not very much. I don't have very much in talent, ability, or wealth. However, I know God can take what I am and what I have and do a lot with it if I will only let Him. He won't necessarily give me more, but He'll stretch what He's already given me to do great things.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Out of Africa

There used to be a zebra in a field close to where I grew up. I don't know why, but the people who owned the land had somehow purchased a zebra and they kept it out in their pasture. They didn't have any other animals in the pasture. Just the zebra.
I used to pass by that field everyday on the school bus, and while everyone else thought seeing a zebra in a pasture in Alabama was funny, it made me a bit sad. It was all alone, and it was out of place. I guess I kind of related to that poor zebra. I was lonely in my youth, and I often felt as if I were completely out of place. As if I were born to be somewhere else, something else.
I still find myself struggling to define, well, myself. What is it that I do? What is my purpose? I'm no longer alone, but I still feel a bit out of place at times. I am very happy with my life, but I still feel as if I'm not living up to my full potential. I've always been terrified of failure, and I sometimes wonder if that fear has dictated some of my choices. In college I chose to study music because music was my "thing." It was easy for me. I know I would never really be brain surgeon material, but what could I do if I stepped away from what was easy and took a chance? What if I dared to risk failing? I've done it before.
I took a huge chance when it came to finding love. I risked heartbreak and rejection in my pursuit of the man who is now my wonderful husband. He could have said no. He didn't, and the feeling of triumph was unbelievable. My risk paid off. I think a risk like that is almost always worth it. Even if you fail, at least you've learned something.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I have been a bit slack in keeping up this blog. However, I intend to change that. I plan on posting at least a couple of times a week with commentary on local happenings, television and entertainment, as well as just my everyday goings-on. So, keep checking back here for my latest ramblings!



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