Saturday, April 17, 2010

Awwwwww...An Award for Me!

I love prizes!

Must be that part of me that gets distracted easily by sparkly things :)

My new blogger friend Paula at Queen of My Castle gave me this award:

The sad thing is that she gave me this award on April 4...I am just now acknowledging her sweet gift on
April 17...It took me 13 days to say Thanks!  My grandmother, mother, aunts, and every other female member of my Southern family would be ashamed!!!!!

Please forgive this travesty, Paula ;)

The rules for this award are:

1. Thank and link to the person that gave you the
2.  Pass this award on to 15 bloggers who you recently discovered and think are fantastic.
3.  Contact said blogs and let them know they've won.
4.  State 7 things about yourself.

Seven Things About Me:

1.  Home is where my heart is my sanctuary...I strive daily to keep it the most relazing, peaceful place in our lives.

2.  I have to have a window in my office.  I would lose my mind if I didn't.  I need to know there is another world out there waiting on me.

3.  I cannot make it anywhere on time.  I'm not lazy...I just have my own concept of time.

4. I LOVE a clean house...but my house is not always clean. 

5.  I'm a magazineaholic.  I justify all my magazine subscriptions by sharing my magazines with my students once I've finished reading them.

6.  I love to shop...but I cannot shop when there are 80 gazillion other people shopping at the same time.  I have never and will never shop on Black Friday or any other day such as that.  I would probably kill someone :)

7.  I am a Partner in Hope and an otherwise fanatic supporter of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, but I cannot read any of the literature they send me nor watch any of the tv specials...I just can't.  I can't even talk about it.  I will have to get over this if I want to be able to make more of a difference in the fight against pediatric cancers.  I'm working on it.

I'm passing this award on to:

Taylor at The Lumberjack's Wife...because she makes me laugh out loud :) every. single. post.

Jennifer at Fiddle Dee Dee...because she cooks with cast iron ;) and we Southern girls have to stick together.

Carson at 7 MSN Ranch...because I want burros like George and Alan in my backyard!

Jen at Cabin Fever...because of her story on Friday, April 16.

Melanie at Coupon Goddess...because the deals she gets absolutely amaze me.

Kate at Chronicles of a Country Girl...because her blog postings and photographs are the epitome of peacefulness.

Danni at On the Way to Critter Farm...because she was brave enough to leave a high tech job and return to the farmlife she loves.

Shanna at Layla Grace...because even though I never knew her, I miss Layla too.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Five Question Friday

I've been wanting to join in this 5 Question Friday thingie that one of my new blogger friends Lyndsey at Austin Antics participates in...I'm not very good at these things...I gave up on Shutter Sisters 365 Project and Menu Monday already...both began to feel like a chore rather than Blogging (my own personal problem rather than a problem with either blogging project). 
Friday is my all time favorite day of the week...from the time I open my eyes first thing on Friday morning, I just feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

I've been reading other people's 5 Question Friday postings for a few weeks now and I'm ready to give it a try.
Here goes:

1. What words do you use on your blog/online that you don't use in real life?
 I thought about this one really hard...but truthfully, the answer is none.  I say "Holy Smokes," "Oy,"
"Oh my Heavens" etc. in real life just as much in my blog postings as I do in real life :)...maybe even more.  I also leave my g's off words like pickin' and blowin' etc.  The only thing that I'm comfortable doing on my blog that I don't do anywhere else is write in sentence fragments.  I have a PhD in English, people...old habits die matter how much I try to block all that academic stuff out :)  I guess I just am what I am; I'm not now and never have been a good pretender. 

2. Do you still write checks?
Only for the bills that I don't have automatically debited from my checking account.  Automatic debits are a lifesaver for me.  My friend Missie says I get distracted very easily by "shiny things."  I hate to admit it, but she's right.  I'm also fantastic about putting the mail away and forgetting that something needs to be paid until the 2nd notice arrives.  This drives my husband absolutely bonkers.  That's why I'm not in charge of our finances.  I use my debit card for everything else and bank with a bank that has real time updates on the balance of my account :) 

3. Who was your favorite President and why?
Ronald Reagan.  While no president is perfect and I do not call myself a Democrat, Republican or anything else political for that matter, I felt safest during Reagan's presidency...not only did Reagan and the other leaders he surrounded himself with seem to have finances, military, healthcare, etc. under some semblance of control, but his mannerisms and his true patriotism always made me feel as if the commander in chief of our country was really concerned about America.  Reagan is my husband's favorite president as well...probably for much different reasons than mine...our youngest child is even named Reagan :)

4. Are you a yeller?
I wish I wasn't.  I try very hard not to kids have learned that when I start whispering, it means I'm about to lose it.  We are loud people.  But, we also know that yelling is obnoxious and hurtful so we work on it.

5. Have you ever dumpster dived?
I lost my wallet once in a restaurant dumpster when I was in jr. high.  The manager and I went through the entire night's worth of trash and dumped food to find my wallet.  I found my wallet later on the bus as we were headed back to school (I was mortified!!)  Other than that, no.

Tee Hee...that was actually kinda fun...some funny memories too that I haven't thought about in a while :) Maybe I'll also meet some new friends :):)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


My mom, my middle child, my firstborn and I saw 4 absolutely incredible shows on Broadway while we were in NYC last week.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, these were the highlights of our trip.

Even after 4-5 previous NYC trips, I had never been to a Broadway show (on Broadway).
I was mesmerized and now want to see every single show playing!!

Phantom of the Opera

One of the oldest shows on Broadway, most everyone knows this story.
The villain who is frightening but smoldering at the same time.
The ingenue learning from a teacher she doesn't know or understand and who sometimes frightens her.
The man who falls in love with the ingenue and vows to save her from the "Opera Ghost" or OG as he signs his notes.

I was astonished at the set and the theatre.
The beauty of an antique show palace along with the technological abilities and special effects took my breath away...the giant chandelier actually falls from the ceiling in the middle of the show!!!
And, the Phantom himself is climbing all over the stage, over the stage, on top of the ceiling, etc.

My favorite scene is the part where the Phantom mesmerizes Christine into coming with him to his lair under the opera house.
The entire stage turns into a steep staircase that falls down into a deep foggy swamp where Christine and the Phantom sing "The Phantom of the Opera" and glide through the smoky air.
Spooky candelabra appear from the floor as they get closer to his home...
I have no idea what was going on in the theatre around me during this number...I was off in the swamp with them.

In the Heights

In the Heights is one of the newer shows on Broadway but racked up at the last Tony Awards.
I now know why.

This is a fast paced show about a neighborhood called Washington Heights in a barrio in NYC.
or barrrrrrrrrrrrio as the Latino company sings.

The character Nina returns home after her first year at Stanford...the first one to make it out of the barrio, she has decided to quit college.
She is obviously embarrassed to tell her parents as well as her extended family members, the neighborhood that has supported her since she was born.
She is at a turning point in her life and has many decisions to make just as the neighborhood itself is evolving.

Usnavi is a solid character from the Caribbean who runs a small store next to Nina's parents and is in love from afar with Vanessa, a beautician who dreams of escaping the barrio to live in a uptown studio apartment.
Usnavi is a rapper and man alive, can he rap!
Usnavi's rap shows how rap is an musical artform rather than the string of profanities that today's rap is famous for...

Carla, another unforgettable character, is a perfect illustration of the word "sassy"...Carla  owns the beauty shop in which Vanessa works...and is in the process herself of moving her shop to a better location.
Carla is streetwise and streetsmart with a good head on her shoulders.
She also doesn't hesistate to say what's on her mind.
Carla is one tough cookie...but in the end she helps Vanessa finally get what she needs.

The numbers "Vanessa" and "96,000" absolutely blew my mind.
What is incredible about this show is how so many things can be going on at the same time on stage...but in a completely orchestrated way...
How do they do that????
And, why can't I do that??
Characters are dancing and singing parts all over the place...
and then at the end of "96,000" they all come together across the front of the stage singing in perfect unison!!!
Whoa, Nelly!!!!

The dancing in this show is street dancing...I don't even really know how to describe it...the amount of talent on the stage and the years of expertise and training put into making this show what it is...
Holy Smokes!

This incredible company of singers and dancers also entertained our kids the morning of the show.
2 of the cast members taught our kids  parts from the number "96,000."
I'm still singing and my kids are still dancing!


I'm going to try hard to find some words befitting the show Wicked.
But, I'm probably going to have a hard time.

I've never seen anything like Wicked.

Guh-Linda, the "good" witch we all grew to love was not quite as "good" as she seemed.
She is rich and spoiled, and vain...really really vain.
Elphaba, which is the wicked witch's real name, is the same age as Glinda and they meet in college.
Elphaba has green skin...she is different...and just like every "different" kid in school, she is treated poorly, even by her own father.
Elphaba and Glinda accidently become roommates...
And then they become friends...friends who accept each other for who and what they are...good and bad...even when they have to go their separate ways in the end.

Glinda vows to make Elphaba "Popular," and the actress who portrays her is hysterical in this number...from Glinda's characteristic hair toss to her perky mannerisms, the theatre was filled with laughter throughout the show.

Another number which is reprised in several places during the show is "I Hope You're Happy."
Glinda is a high pitched soprano, and Elphaba is a lower pitched alto.
Their voices together are magical.
I've frankly never heard two people singing together who sound like these two.
It's as if the music was made for them and them alone.
They play off each other and respond to each other almost as if they haven't rehearsed it a gazillion times.

If I have to pick a favorite number from this show though, it would be "Defying Gravity."
Hands Down.
It starts out quiet and grows and grows and grows...until Elphaba has finally embraced her wicked side and is dangling somehow midair on her broom with dazzling lights covering the entire darkened stage singing from the top of her lungs.
How the heck did she do that?????
When she finished that last note, the entire theatre stood up clapping.
I wanted to scream, "Bravo, Bravo!!"
I wanted to BE the Wicked Witch of the West!!!

Please, please, please, if you are only going to see one show in your lifetime, see this one!
I ain't kiddin'

West Side Story

West Side Story was the last show we saw.
Now, I've seen the movie a bunch of times.
Natalie Wood, fake brown skin, lip synching and all, is one of my all time favorite Marias...any other Marias have really big shoes to fill in my book.

Since the movie is a musical, most folks have experienced at least a little of the dancing and singing epitomized in this show...
But, until you've seen it live...
you ain't really seen it!

Now, let me say something about the gentlemen in this show.

Help me, Lord.
The Sharks and the Jets...dancing against one another.

There's obviously a lot of ballet trained dancers in this show.
These guys really know how to leap!!!
And, when you add the ladies to the mix.
I could barely breathe.

The numbers "America" and "Dance at the Gymn" were my favorites.
"America" is sung by Anita and backed up by the other Latina ladies.
It made me want to jump up and start shouting.
"Dance at the Gymn" is the epic comparison of cultures through dance.
I wish I could dance like that!!

West Side Story has been revised to include more Spanish, and the effects are dramatic.
We all knew what was going to happen in the end, and some of the Romeo and Juliet like scenes can get a little sappy...but I was in tears with Maria at the was my firstborn.


Our time on Broadway will provide my girls and I and my mom with some incredible memories...
especially since we shared them together.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I'm home...heavy sigh :)

I love to travel...I really really do...

But I love coming home too.

I'm a little bit of a baby when I travel.
The Head of My Household would gasp at that statement.
Things that bother me (hotel room bathrooms, the way a room smells, etc.) just don't bother him.
Over the last 21 years, he's just learned to put up with my neuroses.

I need to know where my stuff is...
I need to have a place to put my stuff...
I need to have a room that looks and smells clean (I've seen all those 20/20 episodes)...
I need to have food (regular/normal food preferably) available at all times just in case I need it.
I need to know where I am and where I'm going.

I need a plan when I travel.
My friend Missie would gasp at this statement...not because the it is an understatement, but just the opposite.
I'm pretty laid back at home...but when I'm away, I want to know what my future holds.
I need to be able to relax.
and I need to not be exhausted.
I need to have some semblance of control...I don't have to make all the decisions, but I don't like the "fly by the seat of my pants" method of decision making when I'm in unfamiliar territory.
In other words, I'm not your "backpack across Europe" kinda gal.

While we had a great time in NYC, I learned on this trip that I'm not a fan of traveling in large groups.  We had 115 people in our group...55 of those people were teenagers.
2 of those teenagers were mine.
There were times when I felt like I knew more than the tour guide, and that in itself was a little scary.

We were planted right in the middle of Times Square also.

Can you say crowds?

Can you say tourist trap?

Can you say a mess?

Can you say long lines?

 I've been to New York 4-5 times.
The New York my kids experienced on this trip was not exactly the New York I had hoped for them.
They came away thinking New York is dirty, loud, rude and chaotic and so much different than their familiar surroundings at home...



I'm going to take them back to NYC.
My Way!
At Christmas.
In time to see the Macy's Parade on Thanksgiving Day.
And the lighting of the Christmas tree and ice skating at Rockefeller Center.
The city all dressed to the nines in red, gold and green and sparkly lights.
To see The Lion King and Mary Poppins on Broadway.
And stay far, far away from Times Square.

That's how I first experienced NYC...
and it will forever live on in my mind as a city of magic.
I even have a shrine in my home devoted to that first magical trip :)

I'll share the highlights from our trip over the next couple of days :)