Saturday, December 30, 2006

a hard-knock life

Many of you know this about me, but I am a huge fan of Broadway musicals, especially from the 50s-80s. The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Kiss Me Kate, Camelot, Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man, West Side Story, all of them. I love them madly, and know every word to every song. But the one I know the best is Annie. I could recite the entire script by memory. I have the soundtracks for both the original Broadway cast and the 1982 movie. I think I even had that locket when I was a little girl.

Today I watched a documentary on Showtime called "Life After Tomorrow," about the girls who were in the original stage productions of Annie, and what happened (or didn't happen to them) after they grew up. Or rather, after they grew breasts and got kicked out of the productions. It was touching and poignant, and really made me think of my all my dashed hopes and dreams. I can't believe I was never in Broadway musical. I need a do-over.

There were a few famous faces- notably Sarah Jessica Parker (Annie), Molly Ringwald (orphan), and Alyssa Milano (orphan), and a few semi-famous faces- the girl who played Leo's daughter in The West Wing, and the girl who played Lila on Charles in Charge, but mainly they've become regular women- CPAs, pyschiatrists, teachers, mothers. They got their 15 minutes when they were 9 and 10 years old, and then returned to elementary school before they realized how much of their childhood they lost in the process. It was really kind of sad.

I did end up being in Annie in high school, although I never sang well enough to play Annie. I played one of the six orphans who had a leading role. I also choreographed the production.

The play was much more politically charged than the movie, including numbers entitled "We'd Like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover," and FDR's "A New Deal for Christmas." They toned it down for the film, leaving not-so-subtle digs like Warbuck's "everything's urgent to a Democrat!" and Roosevelt's "aren't Republicans ostentatious?" The brilliance of Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, and Albert Finney only added to my captivated reverence of the movie. I'll bet I've seen it 50 times. I'm actually watching it now.

I still have a fever and my sore throat is getting worse by the hour. I hope everyone's New Year's Eve is festive and remember, you're never fully dressed without a smile!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy Scottie-San's Birthday!!!!!

First things first, happy 32nd to my dear friend Scottie-san, who is smart, funny, and filled to the rim with ZAH. As I'm sitting in an airport away from my trust lil' hard drive, Sparky, I don't have a picture to post. Perhaps I'll do that tomorrow. I'm hoping madly to get back to Dallas in time to attend Scottie-san's birthday party. I've been at every one since 2002. I might be the only person who can say that. Besides Scott, that is. Anyway, happy birthday, Scotticus. You are one kool dood.

Next, I have been S-I-C-K for the past 3 days. Fever, snot, sore throat, all of the above. Just plain gross. I'm exhausted and hopped up on non-drowsy Advil Cold & Sinus, which should keep me running for a while. My mom and I watched THE ENTIRE SIXTH SEASON of Gilmore Girls. Six episodes on Tuesday and 16 on Wednesday. Yes. Sixteen. In one day. Are you feeling awe or pity? It's a toss-up. Anyway, as always, the Gilmores were fully of wacky, zany phrases and tons of pop culture zings. In addition to the now-famous "Hurry up, Lorelai, I'm meeting Bill Chandler at the club!" and Lorelai's "frakkin' Celine Dion!!," season 6 also brought us Rory calling her grandmother a Cylon!!! Brilliant.

The 'rents and I watched this awesome special on the History Channel about planet-wide death threats (ie: threats that will end humanity completely). They are, apparently, in ascending order by chance of occurence: gamma rays (nearby dying star), black hole, super volcano, artificial intelligence taking us over, meteor hitting the earth, nuclear war, biological pandemic, and global warming). It was really interesting and super creepy. And it's showing three more times before the end of the month, so check it out.

Anyway, the creepiest one I thought was the meteor hitting the earth one. Apparently there is a meteor out there that is going to come so close to us on Friday, April 13, 2029, that it will go between us and our satellite communication tools, and will most certainly hit us 7 years later, on April 13, 2036, unless we build some sort of ship to "force" it out of its orbit. The ship hasn't been built yet. It doesn't even have blueprints yet. It's just sort of a vague idea. Like, hey, we THINK we can keep it from hitting the earth. Um, hello? That's like, 20 years away. And if it hits the ocean (what, 70% chance?), it will cause MILES-HIGH tsunamis. I was totally freaked out.

I've got to board my plane. See you on the flip side~

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas Eve, you wonderful old Building & Loan!!

Christmas, Part 2 is now over & done. We just finished It's a Wonderful Life. I truly love that movie. I also love walks on the beach, and cliches. No, really. I love it. We went to church this morning, and then out to eat, and then Tom and I had a Sudoku contest (I soundly kicked his arse; now I feel better for losing to my dad so badly), and then my parents went to run the sound at the evening service while I stayed home and made cornbread and biscuits (I'm making stuffing tomorrow).

What I gave/received, Part 2

to my parents: M*A*S*H, the Martinis & Medicine Collection- all 11 seasons, plus the feature film and 2 disks of extras- from my sister and me
to my mom: some fancy gardening gloves and an antique glass creamer pitcher (she collects them)
to my stepdad: that new Tony Bennett duets cd and work gloves
to my sister and brother-in-law: House, Season 2
to my sister: a Rachel Ray cookbook
to my brother-in-law: a Dallas Cowboys Christmas ornament
to my niece: a beaded necklace that I made myself, plus 2 ornaments (a reindeer and a snowman bell with her name on it)
to Tom's parents: a donation to UNICEF in their name

from my parents: Gilmore Girls, season 6, Gray's Anatomy (the actual reference book, not the tv show from which it derived its name), a coffee table photo book of movies filmed in NYC, 2 Christmas ornaments (a coffee cup and a teeny set of scrubs), and an armoire that my stepdad built around some antique glass doors I bought last summer. It's straight-up awesome, but I'm pretty sure I can't take that back on the plane with me, so it will be a late addition.
from my sister and brother-in-law: The West Wing, Season 7 and a stethoscope
from my niece: a Narnia ornament
from my stepdad: a cold

I just left Santa a Coke, took some Nyquil, and am ready to fall asleep. I have a lot of baking to do tomorrow before I head to an overwhelming Christmas dinner which includes 5 children, 23 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and takes time to remember the baby Jesus, and Mary and Joseph, and the rest of those who traveled to see Him, and to contemplate for a moment on the wonder they must have felt, knowing that one day that baby would grow up and bust the world wide open, and nothing would ever be the same again.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What I Gave/Received, Pt 1

I looooove buying presents. I hate the physical act of shopping, but I love picking out things for the people I love, and Christmas is the time of year I most yearn for extra money, because I tend to go overboard. But it really makes me happy to give. (Also, receiving is pretty cool.)

So, this weekend I went to Nacogdoches and Houston, and had 2 rounds of "Christmas" with my various family members. Here is what I gave:
  • to my dad: a fish-cleaning knife set, a Dallas Cowboys christmas ornament, Firefly- the complete series on DVD, a 6-pack of various beers from World Market, some new work gloves, and a Sudoku book.
  • to my step-mom: a windchime, a picture frame, and a nice bottle of Portugese wine.
  • to my sister Carrie: The Time-Traveler's Wife.
  • to my brother-in-law Jerry: The Short History of Nearly Everything.
  • to my Uncle Al: two Apple books, iWoz- Steve Wozniak's autibiography, and The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness.
  • to Jule: this shirt and the BBC mini-series Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth, which she already had so will be exchanging it for something else
I have also sent two shirts to Tom (the one I gave Jule and this one). People I have gifts for who have not yet received them, because I am lazy: Kiddo, Krysten (and Bryce), Bill, and Erin.

OK, and here's what I got:
And I came home from my travels to two presents on my doorstep!! Kiddo sent me an awesome orange Batgirl shirt, which I am wearing tomorrow, and Krysten sent me a flask, which I totally needed, natch, and a Krysten Original Scarf. It's frakkin' amazing. On one side it looks like this*:

Which is awesome in and of itself, right? But then, on the other side, it looks like this*:

WHOOOOOP! How cool is that?? I am so blown away by her craftiness. And also, I love skulls!

*pictures taken with new camera. Rad.

So, there you have it. First round of What I Gave/Received, 2006. More to come when I get back from Ohio. I will miss the internet, and you, dear readers. New Year's Resolutions coming soon.

Monday, December 18, 2006

back in civilization

Greetings from Houston!

As much as I harp on the booming metropolis of Nacogdoches, there is something so charming, so fantastically American about small-town America. East Texas is absolutely beautiful, and did you guys know I come from the oldest town in Texas? Original brick streets downtown and everything. I had a glorious time (although don't get me wrong, there's a 2-day maximum on the glory).

Friday I drove into town to see a billboard of an insurance salesman who graduated high school with me. Um, OUCH. I also got caught in a "traffic jam" that involved livestock. I got to my dad's and both dogs done R-U-F-F-O-F-T, so we spent a little time in the woods looking for them. I got dirty. Then we went to eat lunch at Mike's Barbecue. Mike's is where my little sister had her rehearsal dinner before her wedding. No, seriously. Mike of Mike's goes to my parents' church and I still actually know people that work there. Mrs. Mike was even around and came by to chat. Classic. Then Daddy and I went out to the range to shoot. Again, seriously. I shot about a hundred rounds from my 9mm on targets at 10, 25, and 50ft. We went back to the house (ibym "house"... "trailer"), where we met my sister, brother-in-law, and 2 nephews for "Christmas." It was great fun - my nephews are 3 and 9 months and adorable. My sister's family gave me this disgustingly awesome book called Fierce Food. Seriously, it is so gross. I love it.

Saturday my stepmom Gale and I went antique shopping, and then met my dad for lunch at The Cotton Patch. We went back to the house where Daddy and I cleaned our pistols together, natch, and then I went to Java Jack's and met two of my high school friends for coffee. It was CRAZY fun - I haven't seen either one of them in several years. Jeffrey is one of the oddest, most eccentric people I have ever known, and I'm happy to report he hasn't changed one bit. Pretty much every time he said something, I had to look at Adam for verification. It was so much fun to catch up with them. Saturday night Daddy and Gale and I watched Elf.

Sunday we went out to my other sister's house, where she lives with her husband and their 3 kids. My brother and his wife and their three kids were there as well, and we had lunch and let the kids open presents, and all had coffee and sat on the porch while the kids played on the hay bales. Again, seriously. It was so great. My dad and I had a sudoku contest (my stepmom gave us the same book so we raced) and he beat me three times in a row. Grrr!

THEN, Uncle Al, Auntie, and Jule were driving back to Houston from Bossier City, where Auntie's parents live, and they stopped in Nac and we caravan'ed to Houston. We met their friend Kip at the house for the 3-hour season finale of Survivor, which took us about 4 hours to watch, even without the commercials, because of all the pausing and yelling. We all cast our votes- even me, who had never seen it before (I voted alphabetically). I'm embarrassed to say that I enjoyed it.

Today Auntie and Jule and I went to the mall (*shudder*) and to Best Buy to get some last minute gifts, and then to dinner, where we watched Elf again. *snort* I'm glad I bought it, since apparently no one in my family has ever seen it. Jule and I are watching Christmas in Connecticut now. Unfortunately I have to head home to Dallas tomorrow since I am leaving Thursday morning for Christmas in Ohio.

I hope everyone's weekend was as wonderful as mine. I'll be home tomorrow~

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I found a wi-fi signal if I press my computer + self up against the front window. Seriously. Every time I move I lose the signal - I'm literally crouching on the ground with the laptop balanced precariously on a rocking chair. Harder than one might think. Helloooo, internet! I've missed you so!! BIG WET SMOOCHES!!

Next on No Day but Today, City Mouse Goes to the Country.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Today was a pretty awesome day. I slept until about 9, and then moved straight to the couch with my coffee and my mushroom-swiss omelette for Take Me Out to the Ballgame with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. And Esther Williams. It was pretty good. Then I had to go up to the Highland Park Town Hall to take care of my tickets, and got to watch a judge hear a defendent, a city lawyer, and a witness, all for a traffic violation (speeding in a construction zone with workers present). Surprisingly, the speeder won (Judge saying it was the first time he'd ever ruled that way) because the dude lived IN the construction zone and there was no sign saying where the zone ended, or something. And the workers were behind him when he was stopped. His honor sadly did not say "My name is Judge." They dismissed the insurance one but I had to pay $118 for my inspection being more than 60 days expired. Oof.

It was a lovely day, so I walked to and from the courthouse in lieu of going to the gym. It was nice; warm, even. Then I got gas, finished my Christmas shopping, and went to Borders, where, with a 30% off coupon, a 20% off personal shopping day, $23.80 in Holiday Rewards cash, and a gift card from my boss, I got 3 Christmas dvds for completely free. ROCK. I got White Christmas, Christmas in Connecticut, and Elf. In the immortal words of Ryan Busboom, free is better than not free. Free makes me smile. "Smiling's my favorite!"

OH!! And I made an "A" in Anatomy & Physiology!

I'm leaving tomorrow for a weekend in East Texas. A weekend in a single-wide trailer with no internet access and quite possibly no cell phone access. A weekend in which my entertainment shall be shooting cans off a wooden-slat fence with my pistol. Seriously. It's pretty rad. And so is my stepmom's homemade bread pudding.

So, y'all be sweet while I'm gone. Kisses!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

school's out!!

I am d-o-n-e with finals, folks!!! Whew!!! I won't get my grades for a few days, but for now I can focus on the important things my time off has to offer, like sloth and gluttony rest and nourishment.

I was listening to NPR on the way home from school... have you guys heard of this Complaints Choir? It started in Birmingham (England, not Alabama) and is now also in Helsinki, Hamburg, and St. Petersburg. The premise is an open invitiation to complain about whatever you want, with your fellows whiners and gripers, in song. Wha? In the wha??? Because complaining is a universal commonality or something. Apparently they have written music about everything from slow computers to the price of beer. People seem to flock to these productions, although fittingly, they are complaining about the quality of the music. You can watch Birmingham's and Helsinki's on YouTube. Amazing.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The World According to Sesame Street

I DVR'd a PBS Independent Lens a few months ago about different versions of Sesame Street around the world. Sesame Street is currently in 120 different countries, but this particular episode focused on Kosovo, South Africa, and Bangladesh, and I found it to be one of the most moving and informative programs I've seen in a long, long time. I cried many, many times- and I know it's easy to be outraged at the state of our world from the comfort of my well-heated apartment with a stomach full of food, and anyway, outrage feels so helpless. I'm sending some money to PBS right now. Even that feels like I'm not doing enough.

The first part of the program dealt with Kosovo, and the Albanian/Serb segregation. These children go to separate schools, and are being taught to hate one another from birth. The crew asked a 6-year old Serb if he was interested in knowing any Albanian children, and he said no; when asked why, he answered "because they kill us and throw us in holes. They burn down our houses." It was so matter-of-fact. These children have no childhood. They've seen more terror in their few years on earth than most of us will see in a lifetime of $8 movies at the multiplex. Most of them quit elementary school to help support their families. They work- actual, physical labor, all day, every day, instead of learning to read, just so they will have dinner that night. The entire country has one television station and it's run by the government, so incorporating racial tolerance had to be done incredibly delicately.

The South Africa segment dealt with their inclusion of an HIV+ character, Kami. In a country where it is assumed you have HIV until proved otherwise, it was a logical step to introduce Kami and her specific needs and issues to the South African youth who identify with her. She is a furry, yellow Muppet who contracted HIV through a blood transfusion as an infant, after her mother had died of the disease. Since most South African children know someone who has AIDS, the character has become a national hero, beloved by the country's people. Kami has appeared at the United Nations and the World Bank and was interviewed by Katie Couric. She has also been named a UNICEF ambassador for children and has appeared in Takalani segments alongside Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.

The Bangladesh portion dealt mostly with the lack of governmental support the program has had and how the crews were shut down more than once due to rioting and bombing in the filming area. Due to 09/11 they were unable to get to New York to meet with Sesame Headquarters, so they got their training from the South African team. Sisimpur is Bangladesh's very first educational television program, and due to lack of national support, USAID has committed $7 million in funding over the first three years. They also added a special little girl character focused on showing young Bangladesh girls that they have the same value as boys. Her name is Tuktuki.

It was honestly a stunning documentary; I highly recommend it. I also highly recommend using some of your Christmas time and/or funds for a child somewhere - across the world, or right here at home, a child could have a better Christmas, a better education, and a better life if we all pitch in.

Friday, December 08, 2006

so christmas-y

Props to Sandy, who bought me Brian Wilson's Christmas album last year (and for being one of maybe two people in the world that would not only actually deign to purchase said album, but knew that I was secretly dying for it).

I'm Christmas-ing today. I went out and spent about a week's salary on presents this morning, but I think I got almost everyone. My sister is splitting my parents' with me, and I also got my Dad's birthday present (day after tomorrow), so I think I fared pretty well. Who I bought for: my Nacogdoches family (Daddy, Gale, sister & brother-in-law), my Ohio family (Mom, Tom, sister and brother-in-law), and my Houston family (Uncle Al, Auntie Sandy, Justin, & Julia). Who I didn't buy for: my neices and nephews. I got freaked out by the overwhelming choices. How am I supposed to know what they have/don't have/parents don't want them to have? Kids are difficult. Now I am baking and wrapping and addressing and stamping. I think I might have carpal tunnel in my right hand. Or maybe arthritis.

And because it can't be said enough, "My Favorite Things" is not a Christmas song.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

what a charade!

Quite possibly the cutest meet-cute in all the meet-cutes that ever were met:

Peter Joshua: Do we know each other?
Regina Lampert: Why, do you think we're going to?
Peter: I don't know; how would I know?
Regina: Because I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies I couldn't possibly meet anyone else.
Peter: Well, if anyone goes on the critical list, let me know. --walks off--
Regina: Quitter!

TCM is have a Stanley Donen-athon. I just finished Funny Face and now am thoroughly enjoying Charade. Anchors Aweigh is next- possibly my all-time #2 favorite Gene Kelly vehicle (although not directed or choreographed by Donen so I'm not sure why it's in the line-up, but I'm not complaining). If you can't name #1, then you're voted off the island.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

calling all sleuths...

First, the next chapter in my car saga- after the axles, the battery, and the brake pads, I finally went to get it inspected, and everything works, and then Erin and I are just sitting in my car, and out of nowhere, the driver side back window just falls down. Or like, slips down, like it's rolled down, except it's not. I could slide it up with my hands, but I guess it's off the track or something, because it won't stay up. Bill taped it up for me. It's super classy.

Now, onto my Christmas mystery: Last year, Christmas 2005, I was "living" at my parents'. All of my things were in storage. Literally locked up in a storage unit, a good 10 miles from my parents' house. I am the only one who had a key. I went in there a couple of times during the 9 months my stuff was housed there- once to get my winter coat and once to get some dvds, stuff like that. But I never got out my Christmas stuff, because since I was at my mom's, there was really no point. My mom gave me two ornaments last year (a cute Christmas tree made out of kitchen utensils, and an awesome Hallmark Pat the Bunny Keepsake), and I also bought one in Wisconsin this summer, and I had those 3 tucked away in my hall closet for when I got out all my stuff this year. Meaning, this year, when I got out my tree and decorations, I hadn't seen my Christmas stuff in 2 years.

Well, I have all my ornaments in their original boxes, and all those boxes stacked in a big tupperware tub with a lid. I'm was going through it, and putting the ornaments on the tree, and thinking about where I got them all and how much they all mean to me... and about 2/3 down in the tub, I come across an ornament I've never seen before. It's the Statue of Liberty in a glass dome with the military branch flags around it. (It's literally this one.) It doesn't seem like something that I would buy, but here's the really weird part: it's a 2005 Hallmark Keepsake. My stuff was in storage in 2005. I haven't opened this box since Christmas 2004. I've never seen it before. My mom doesn't know anything about it either. Where did this ornament come from and how did it get into the bottom of a box that was packed in a storage unit in Columbus, Ohio??

Trixie Belden would totally get to the bottom of this. I, on the other hand, am just putting it out there in blogland in hopes that the answer will come back to me.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

lights schmights

This morning I woke up early to do some schoolwork, and then Charlie came over to help me with my brakes (ibym "help me with"... "do while I watched"), and then I decided to tackle my Christmas tree. No, not like that.

Dude, what a beating. A) it's a little bit pathetic to do it alone- I mean, Christmas is all about friends and family and love and Jesus, B) it's just a BEATING. I mean, don't get me wrong. I love love LOVE Christmas. But oh, for a pre-lit tree! Maybe I'll get one on sale after the holidays and keep it for next year.

I had to go out twice for more lights. Partly because mine were almost 10 years old and there were so many bulbs burnt out that it was ridiculous for me not to just spend $2 a strand for some new ones, but mostly because I'm a moron and estimated incorrectly. My hands are all scratched up and raw from the tree needles, and as I was carrying my broken lights and trash to the garbage, the bag broke through the bottom. GRRR! It took forever. Seriously, like, 3 hours. I'm too beat down to even think about ornaments tonight. I'll finish up tomorrow.

So, when we were at the auto parts store this afternoon, their credit card machine was broken or something, and while we stood there waiting (and waiting... and waiting) for it to go through, the walking cliche behind the counter was chit chatting with us about ... well, I have no idea, actually. Finally I left to get some cash since his machine wasn't doing anything. When I came back, I handed him $51 (the total was $50.41). He asked me if I had a penny. Negative. He fumbled around trying to figure out how much he owed me, and I said "59 cents." He looked at Charlie and said "man, you gotta look out for these women today. They're so good with money now!" He wasn't being ugly; in fact, he seemed to be a kind and gentle old man, but good grief, he might as well have said "Huh?! Girls can count??"

I am all caught up on television. There's a new show on TBS called "My Boys" that I really liked - it's like Sex & the City but younger, and with baseball. I watched the most recent 3 episodes of Dr. Who last night. I was extremely wary of Christopher Eccleston leaving because I liked him as The Doctor oh-so-much, but David Tennant was won me over. He is totally my new boyfriend. Don't tell TJ Thyne. PLUS, Eccleston is going to be a HERO come January. Whoooop!