Monday, December 29, 2008

World of Wii Fit! or WWF!

Welcome to the wonderful World of Wii Fit! For our birthdays, my parents and siblings bought Fi and I a Wii complete with the Wii Fit game and accessories. Fi hasn't had an opportunity to play yet, but I managed to get a Wii Fit workout in earlier this evening with my mom and dad looking on. Suffice it to say, my Wii Sports needs some work, but my Wii Fit wasn't so bad.

The cool thing about this Wii Fit program is that it keeps track of my progress. I did, however, ask it not to tell me how much I weighed, though it has no problem telling me if my balance is poor or if my performance on a certain event, program or yoga position is "couch potato" level. I named my Wii Fit trainer Claire (you can pick between a woman or a man), and she was pretty encouraging, sometimes. I'll keep you updated on how it goes with Claire and Wii Fit.

I also tried this pretty scrumptious Fage Greek yogurt today with some tasty three berry granola (I know that sounds unappealing to some, but I have to admit, I'm a total sucker for granola and berries-not fruits, mind you-just berries). I'd heard about this Fage yogurt for quite some time from a few of the food blogs I peek in on and am pleased to announce it is as wonderful as everyone says and I highly recommend this delish combo. It's creamy and a little thick and very filling. I had half a cup and put the rest back in the fridge. Perhaps my mom's lasagna (boo-yanya-in baby Dustin's language) filled me up or the excellent Indian veggies I had for lunch that Mom made for my birthday.

Moving on, though, Fi and I hope you all had a spectacular holiday thus far. Mine started out with a twenty-hour drive back to NY in rain, sleet and snow followed by the arrival ofmy siblings: Kiran and Sara with an unexpected cousin's arrival on Christmas Eve (Srinivas or just Sri: pronunciation-Shree).  My family gathers at our house for Christmas Eve, then on Christmas day we head over to my Aunt Ronnie's house-two hours away, but worth the trip.

Here's my family on Christmas Eve from left to right...Uncle Teddy, Mom, Kiran, Sara, Pop, Aunt Barb, my cousin Jamey, and Aunt Ronnie

On Christmas morning, we have another tradition where we open gifts from youngest to oldest. This means little Sara goes first, then me, Kier, Mom and Pop. My favorite part of Christmas is giving gifts I think the people I care about would like. I know that probably sounds totally corny, but true. This year Dustin and I did gifts for our families together-which is also a first-and everyone seemed really excited and happy about what they got. We gave Sara some pj's she wanted, a pair of shoes and Hall and Oates' Greatest Hits. Kier got a giant 93 piece car kit for his new car.We gave Mom some clothes cus she said she needed them terribly. Clothes are tough, but Connie completely dug what we gave her. For Pop there were slippers and sweatsuits (yes, they still actually sell sweatsuits and my dad has gotten VERY into outdoor work since he retired a few years back). We gave Aunt Barb new pants since she doesn't fit into ANY of her hand-me-down ones and, lastly, we gave Sri an iHome for his iPod. Everyone seemed happy, which made me ridiculously happy, too!

Oh, I almost forgot-my fam totally hooked me up, too. I got a new battery for my computer so I'm able to write my blogs whilst sitting on the completely cozy chaise lounge in my parents living room. Kier and Sara gave me a Garmin because Dustin and I travel so much that they thought we needed it-which they were right about. This will make my drive back to Columbia so much easier than trying to read my hand-written directions in the light given off by passing traffic on the highway.

After gifts, I went for a run in some of the new running tights Mom and Pop gave me and it felt fabulous. It'd been way too long since I'd run (about a week, maybe a little less than that, but still!) When I came back, the family had started on breakfast which Kiran made: eggs of all kinds, omelettes, (I had a yummy egg white one with veggies), toast and breakfast meats. I was starving and had some coffee and my omelette before heading to the shower and getting ready to head up to my aunt's house for part two of gift-opening and more eating.



So, we drove the two hours to my aunt's where we snacked on some shrimp, cheeses, crackers and tons of little eats. The  scrumptious scent of browning turkey filled the house. Aunt Ronnie had made my favorite dishes: roasted veggies and broccoli with garlic and pepper. We were preparing to sit down and have dinner after posing for some pics and helping set the table when out of nowhere...disaster struck.




Above is a photo of the women in our family at dinner that night. Mom, Sara, Aunt Ronnie and myself.

To the left is a photo of my Uncle Teddy and one of his and Aunt Ronnie's dog's: Cash. Cash is just a little over a year old. He's a purebred shepherd from Germany, but not well socialized. Above is also a picture of the kitchen where Cash and Sara were when the incident occurred. As a matter of fact, we were all in the kitchen getting ready to sit down for dinner when Sara bent down to Cash's level and began to pet his face with her little hands (Sara is maybe 95 pounds, 5'2.5" and, as you can see, very small overall). No sooner did she say, "See, Cash, you don't have to be afraid. I'm not scary," than Cash barked and bit her right in the face. Poor Sara is unlike anyone else I know and instead of sounding an alarm or yelling, crying, anything, she gets silent when she's badly hurt. Reactions were slow motion, but as she stood, I ran across the room in time to see blood pour out of her chin, forehead and lower lip. My dad and mom rushed her into the bathroom and I washed off her hands which were covered in blood and icy to the touch. She cried quietly while my parents cleaned her up and put bandaids on to keep the skin as close together as possible while they drove twenty minutes to the ER of the hospital my dad used to see patients in once in a while.

The left is Sara heading to the ER and on the right is her return to Christmas dinner. She may be tiny, but she is completely tough and what a trooper! She had my mom text us from the ER to let us know she was hungry and planned to eat when she arrived back at my aunt's house. They used derma-bond to close up the gashes on her forehead and chin and she was back in less than two and a half hours.

We were thrilled to have her back and she told me, later, in confidence that she didn't want Christmas to be ruined since it had already been hard enough on the family without my Grandma around. In some regards, my little one saved Christmas. Sara was always kind of mine. Sure, she's my parents daughter, but somehow she was always my responsibility which made her mine in some way so it felt wrong for me to not go with her, but too many is too many and it was definitely my parents place to be there.

After more gifts and food, we headed home. The next day we began my 29th birthday celebration! Kier, Sri and Sar made Kiran's famous Gumbo for dinner and the next night Mom and Sri made Indian food with Sara's help. Then we had a wonderful cake complete with candles and presents from my family. Besides all the awesome Wii stuff, Kiran gave me a GPS watch to keep mileage when I run so I don't have to jump in my car and drive around like crazy keeping track of the odometer.

While the celebrations have been wonderful, today Kiran was the last to go. Sara and Sri took off yesterday after a fancy Sunday brunch (complete with mimosas) and I'll be home through the New Year. It's never the same when they leave. Before Kier departed, we celebrated my birthday for the third night in a row last night by going to see the movie Gran Tarino with Clint Eastwood (very sad...and everyone, including Fi, said the same thing: Why does Clint Eastwood make all these sad/serious movies all the time now?). Usually, we celebrate my birthday for days and, thanks to Kiran saying he couldn't imagine celebrating for just one day, we did it again this year. Can you imagine what next year will be like?

Today, I spent two hours in the DMV renewing my dad's registration for his car and had way more close proximity to people than I feel comfortable with (they were all touchy and unaware of how much they'd invade personal space by hitting into me or rubbing their hand against my hair...etc.). Hated it.  Then I went to the jewelry store to try and pick up my wedding ring (it's my mom's, but way too small for my enormous fingers so it had to be adjusted), but it's closed on Mondays...then back to my Wii Fit extravaganza. We've come full circle now, my loves, and I promise my next blog won't be so long to get through OR so full of stuff!

Hope your holiday has been wonderful and unforgettable. Tell us your favorite holiday stories or gifts! We can't call you all individually...please, please share with us cus, really, we miss you! :)

xoxo

N

P.S.-Mrs. A. Parker...if you're reading...Thanks for liking our blog! We hope you keep reading!



Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gossip Girl Update

Gossip Girl here. Your one and only source with news on Tate Hall/Columbia, Missouri's elite.

Spotted: UTH's (Upper Tate Hall) very own A. Parker floating on stage, dolled up in a satin black gown and matching mortar board to retrieve his Masters degree with his family (need I mention they're as devastatingly attractive as he is?) proudly looking on. There's no question where he gets his fab fashion sense from when he you see him in the presence of his family. Makes you want to change your last name to "Parker!" Word on the street is that A is heading back to Kentucky and breaking all the UTH-ers hearts in the process. Don't go, A! What will UTH be without you? (Sniff. Sob!)

Not to be outdone, running man Lance B. waltzed across the stage just a few rows behind A. to snag his diploma, as well, while his family and main squeeze, Emily, looked on. Rumor has it things are pretty serious on the E and L front as they've passed the seven month mark and are about to have their first Christmas as a couple! No word yet on gift-exchange, but you can bet on it being thoughtful and sweet-just like the two of them. Aww. So sweet I feel as though I've overdosed on sugar.

Also in attendance: Lil B with her new beau Eli. Not much 411 on the Eli front yet, though he was spotted at Lil B's Cookie Making Party, Dustineesha's Christmas Party a few days later (see pic below) and now Graduation. Did Lil B find someone to keep her warm during this frigid holiday season? Only time will tell.

And, of course, Dustineesha. Are they making anyone else sick yet? N was spotted having a minor freak out in the middle of Graduation after A. and L. walked. In the know-ers claim it was over her camera not taking clear pictures and her stomach growling from hunger. Didn't anyone tell her missing a meal wouldn't kill her? Gawd, N, how unbecoming of a UTH-er. And D, as usual, remained cool, calm and collected. Ying and yang, anyone? I hear they're spending this holiday season apart: stay tuned for sadness and boredom without news on our love-hate relationship with this sappy couple.

Congratulations, Graduates!

Like every holiday season, I'm looking forward to all the gossip that occurs over break. With traveling, family gathering, friends reconnecting and others out of touch for a while, there's sure to be some tantalizing morsels upon our return.

So in the holiday spirit, Happy Holidays.

You know you love me.
xoxo
Gossip Girl

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sledding



Oh, my achin' head.



Dustin here. There've been a couple of happenings we keep meaning to write about but haven't gotten around to yet, namely sledding and the Magic Tree. I got dibs on sledding.


Neesha claims she's fairly new to this, but she's a natural. We got to Stephen's Lake Park near downtown Columbia around 11 Wednesday morning, as the last sputterings of the night before's wintery mix drifted down. There wasn't much snow, but there was enough. Neesh snapped this pic. The batteries died before it was her turn.



There were clues that sledders had been there before us, evidenced by the broken S. William's Street sign we found (and kept). That's typical. Clearly, nobody read my blog about how you need to get a sled before there's snow or you'll end up scooting around on a cafeteria tray or a broken street sign, or on the hood of a car like the geniuses in this video my friends Trickey and Jesse shot a few years ago back in the Cape.





(If it doesn't play, click here)

Geniuses aside, Trickey got some wicked air on that first jump.


To Neesha, sledding doesn't make any sense at all. It's cold, for one thing -- a fatal flaw when it comes to activities Neesha potentially can enjoy. And it's too simple. Sitting in a molded piece of plastic and riding it down a slick inclined plane, then hiking back up and doing it again seems to Neesha like something on the level of insect behavior -- a primative, ingrained, repetitious tic left over from an age before the animal brain developed the capacity for enjoying more advanced kinds of stimulation like Gossip Girl. She does not like sledding, but she put up with it for a while so that I could go.

That was cool of her.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

He asked for a 13, but they drew a 31

You should all know, first of all, that I'm totally wasted. So wasted in fact that I was trying to write "Dustin here" like I normally do when I make the bloggings but it kept coming out Dusitin. Like the butt cream. No bueno.

Today is my birthday. Thank you, thank you. I feel every bit of 31.

Yesterday I actually searched the closets for my great grandfather's cane. No kidding. I need it because I hurt myself trying to stretch. Something's not right in my left leg, high up, a little left of my groin. Chances are I pulled a muscle, but it's been years since I pulled a muscle stretching and I don't remember it feeling this bad. I'm hobbling around like a crotchety old geezer and I could use a cane. This is what 31 is like, kiddos.

Other than the constant muscle, joint, and tendon pain, the reduced recovery time, the decrease in athletic performance despite an increase in effort, the weight gain, the slowing metabolism, and the wiry silver hairs that sprout from my head twice as fast as their soft, brown neighbors, 31 is turning out to be okay so far. I got up early and went to the rec center to swim laps and sit in the hot tub, which was awesome -- a little preview of what being retired in Florida must be like. Then there was this birthday brunch bash held by Stephanie. Terrific food with outstanding people in her warm home. That's her on the left, Neesh middle, Alexis right. Not pictured: Anthony Connolly, Brandon and Niya Bond, and me. We love these people. They make hours feel like moments. They make our English department feel like home.



Later, while Neesha made a final exam for her kiddies, I had a glass of bubbly and took a nice long nap this afternoon, savoring the fact that I didn't even have to remove a set of dentures first.

Then there's this:

video (Brief Neesha comment here: in my defense, there was music playing in the background and I didn't realize he was filming. I thought he was still trying to figure out what setting he wanted the camera on!)

I know. Hilarious!

Neesha took me out to dinner at Jina Yoo's Asian Bistro. That was seriously amazing. Great sushi. Neesha said it best: The flavors explode in the mouth.










At Jina Yoo's, Neesh ordered me a shot that was on fire! That's how one's supposed to drink it, too. I got about half of it down before the straw melted.
























Like that fetching sweater? Birthday present from Neesha. And that handsome button down under it? Birthday present from Neesha. And the very rock star pair of black Sketchers (not pictured)? You bet your sweet butt. Neesha hooked me up this birthday.



On a birthday when he was a tad younger than I, the famous explorer Captain Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clarke) journaled that his life was pretty much halfway over and he hadn't done enough to advance humankind or his nation. He therefore pledged, on his birthday (I think it was his 30th), to stop screwing around and get on with doing something important. And not long after that he was appointed, through a byzantine, old-old boys' club channel, to co-head the Corps of Discovery and find a water route across the U.S. to the Pacific Ocean.


I, Dustin Michael, hereby make no such pledge, and I'll tell you why. First off, considering that 10 years ago, when I turned 21, I awoke the following morning to discover I'd passed out early and been dressed up in my pal Rob's sister's prom dress, fitted with a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, and posed and photographed with the various people who had attended my birthday party, I'd say I've come quite a way in a mere decade.


Also, the illustrious Capt. Lewis, unable to keep a relationship going or outshine his glory days as a trailblazing icon of the American frontier, took his own life in some dark Kentucky backwater just a few years after he decided on paper to do something awesome with his life.

So look for more of the same from yours truly -- slow, steady professional advancement coupled with nonstop romance-department fireworks.


And look for me to complain about a headache if I do a blog tomorrow. Still, waking up with a headache is better than waking up in drag. For real.


I seriously love you guys.

Neesha, I love you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hipsters and Stuff White People Like

A Parker has turned us onto the website stuffwhitepeoplelike.com so Fi and I have been sitting home by the fire with the tree lights on and the snow falling outside of our windows looking at this website and laughing. Not long ago, and sporadically throughout the year, really, we have been accosted with criticism from people we don't know either very well or at all. Beyond that, we have also recently heard that we are not in the "hipster" group and it's been suggested that that group does not like us because we are not "hipsters."

This is perplexing to me. I didn't know what a "hipster" was until Fi had me google it online just ten minutes ago. It was then that I learned, from multiple sources, that hipsters are not cool, though they seem to think they are. But, moreso, they deny being hipsters, take up causes or interests without actually caring for or about (or maybe not even knowing) what the actual reason for those causes or interests are (in other words, the heart and soul of them); they desire to be seen as environmentally friendly, vegan/vegetarian, indie-loving, culturally aware, fashion-saavy intellectual do-it-yourself-ers. (Dustin would like to add, by way of illustration, that he is now wearing flannel-lined cargo pants and a Mizzou hoodie-neither of which are worn in an ironic way. AKA-not hipster attire.) However, according to the websites we read (since, need I remind you, we aren't hipsters so we NEED these websites to educate us), hipsters also have a tendency to be on the middle-upper class side yet give the outward appearance of being more on the 'independent', middle-just-getting-by class. In other words, they dress the part, but don't actually live it the way organic farmers and their indie-band singing children do, for example. Those are the real indies whilst "hipsters" are the wannabes, it turns out.

Dustin: Basically, these are people who will put down a shitload of wine and hummus while using terms from their critical theory anthologies to explain why your favorite band sucks. 

The question we're dealing with here is one A. Parker brought up at our Christmas party, which is whether or not the "white people" described on the Stuff White People Like" blog are hipsters. It's like an ACT question: True or false -- All hipsters are white people, and all white people are hipsters.

I'm going with false. I've never seen one of those tight jeans-wearing, indie-music-loving, movie-I've-never-even-heard-of-quoting assholes (A. Parker excluded, of course) wear outdoor performance gear, for instance, and that's an entry on Stuff White People Like. 

(I totally love Gortech)

And while the Wikipedia entry on hipsters cites them as interested in brewing their own beer, and I've certainly heard local hipster types talk about this, I've also heard it from aging boomers in the congregation of St. Andrew Lutheran back in Cape Girardeau -- about as far from hipsterish as one can go.

Have we done a Chistmas song in a while, Neesh? No? Okay. Let's do a Christmas song.

Dustin's Pick: "O Little Town of Bethlehem"
His Reason: "Makes me cry sometimes on the line, "The hopes and fears of all the years/Are met in thee tonight." That's a lot to put on a baby. And don't get me wrong, it's not like "O Holy Night," which makes me cry every time, but still, not too shabby. 


Neesha's Pick!: Well. Mine is actually in the same vein as Fi's. "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
Reason: It's just super pretty and, perhaps, a nod to my future number one pick!

For the Dogs

What a weird morning. By the time I got up and dogs were playing outside, I decided it was high time to get some work done. Maybe ten minutes went by with Bogey, specifically, barking nonstop. D and I tried to enjoy some nice hot coffee despite the barking, but when it became apparent that wasn't going to happen, he went to the door to let them in. Problem: Byz was off and running. She had somehow found her way out of the backyard and was free. D ran for his boots (did I mention we had snow last night? And it's still with us now, of course, just hanging out all over our street that never gets plowed) and I slipped on my house shoes and a long-sleeved-t-shirt. With two treats in my hand, I burst out the door and there she was: Byz running toward me from the street as I yelled out "treat!" Once she got to me, she waited at the gate while I unlatched it and forced it, frozen as it was, open. The question: How did she get out? Fi pulled on his warm coat to go outside and inspect the possibilities of her escape (an open door? broken slats? did she-please don't let it be this-jump???) and as he reached the door, we were greeted by a small tannish, short-haired dog with a collar on. "Buddy? Roberta's (neighbor) dog?" I held back our two crazy dogs while he escorted "Buddy" next door to Roberta's only to discover the dog was not, in fact hers. Right.

At this point the dog took off running through the neighborhood, again. I threw on some sneakers and a hoodie and charged out to help. A car pulled up two houses down and the driver got out and explained to us that he was the dog's owner and he was staying there in that house with his daughter for a while because his wife had just passed away. At that moment, the dog came whirring back down our street and we asked it's name which, strangely enough, was also Buddy.

"Two Buddys on one street!" I noted the irony, but neither D nor the lost-dog-owner thought it worth acknowledging.

Needless to say, we chased the dog, cornered the dog, ignored the dog, bribed the dog...did everything possible to help this man (did I mention the man is handicapped and has mechanized legs rather than real ones with which to chase this dog with?) coax Buddy back to his home, to no avail. My ears were frozen, the bottom of my pants were wet and I couldn't feel my hands by the time we decided to wait it out a bit and see if Buddy found his way home.

Just as we got settled back in the house and began to discuss our own dilemma of keeping Byz from jumping the fence again, our visiting neighbor returned to our stoop to thank us for our help and to let us know Buddy had returned home.

"Merry Christmas," D waved to the man as he headed back to his temporary house and shut the door behind him.

"His wife just died," I stated.

"She did? How do you know?"

"Cus he said it. That's why he's staying with his daughter. His wife just died."

"Oh."

Then his dog ran away and he already has no real legs and it's Christmas to boot. How merry could it be? I asked myself thinking of my mom and how hard Christmas is without her mother this year. He didn't even know us and he told us his wife died. I wondered if he just felt like he really needed to say it. Out loud to someone. Anyone. But, at the same time, he seemed ok.

I remember a time when I was so sad that if my dogs had run away, I'm not sure I would've had the strength or energy to go after them. I'm not sure I would've thought I provided a better life or family or home for them than the wilderness could. And I didn't even really have a reason to be so sad-no deaths, no loss of life or limb, no anything to explain it beyond chemical reactions. Yet, there he was, a recent widower running around as best he could through snowbanks after a spritely five-year-old dog he named Buddy. There he came, knocking on our door to thank us for our help and to let us know Buddy had come home. There he'd be, when his daughter comes home, waiting in front of the fire and tree with two dogs-safe and sound.

I hope D is right and that he has a Merry Christmas. I hope, even though the holidays are said to be the hardest time after the death of a loved one, that the man two doors down has a Merry Christmas and that my mom and our family find a way to have one, too.

Recently, I told my mom I loved Christmas and was excited about it and was celebrating it every day and, bitterly, she said-Well, that's nice for you, Neesha.

I knew she was thinking of my grandma, and I do, too, which is why, for the first time ever, I've been celebrating every day of the Christmas season and not just the 25th. I suppose I'm having an adverse reaction to the norm-while a large part of my family is mourning this holiday season, I can't help but celebrate and not because Grandma would've wanted it that way, but because she's with me more now than ever before and I know she does want it that way.

Or maybe I just don't know much about all of this...I'm just glad my family is healthy and happy and my dogs are safely at home.

Merry Christmas!

xoxo
N

Friday, December 12, 2008

Peek-a-Boo!




Dustin here. Did you miss me?

(I missed you!)

As Neesh said, we plan to be back in full force soon, picking up where we left off with the Christmas song countdown and making up for lost time to boot. Patience, grasshopper. Patience.

Tonight I wanted to drop something on here that's been slipping my mind for weeks. When I was home for Thanksgiving, my six-year-old niece kept singing a snippet of this commercial jingle, over and over and OVER again.

"Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo! You can have one, too!" Or something like that. I mainly remember the "Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo!" part. She must have sung it four hundred times. Four. Hundred.

Today after my conferences were done, I looked for that crap on the Google. And I found it.



Having watched this thing, I can see why it got in her head. It's diabolical. This commercial could only have been made by the military as a weapon. Somehow it got loose. Seriously, if this were the 80s and Panama, our troops would be blasting this commercial nonstop right at Manuel Noriega's house.

And now it's in my head.

Needless to say, I didn't buy my niece a Barbie Peek-a-Boo Petite. I'm going to tell her that crap will give her eating disorders (I'm THAT uncle) as I hand her her totally badass Justice League Unlimited action figure set.

I cannot wait to get them back as soon as she grows out of them.

Apology

I know we've been MIA and are completely behind on our list and updates and overall blogginess...but I assure you, we have not forgotten! We have only been intensely busy as it is the last week of school (now it's over) and the week before final exams (which means conferences and a lot of student freak-outs). Excuses, excuses, right?

I solemnly swear we will write a blog with plenty of fun-filled stories, photos and updates soon!

Our apologies to our loyal and wonderful readers.

The one thing we have learned from our brief absence: more people read our blog than we were aware of! Thanks for checking in on us, readers, to make sure all is well. It is; we're just stressed and will be blogging consistently again soon. We miss you, too!

N and D

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gossip Girl Update

Hello there Upper East Tate Hallers. Have I got a scoop for you.

Spotted: A Parker munching on salad with a side of chocolate cookies and banana pudding with Lil B, Fi and N at Golden Corral (ew!) on the Bronx side of town. Why so far from the Upper East Tate (UET), A? Looks like he's steering clear of the lit-aholics and academic elite UET. You can't hide forever, A. Didn't anyone ever tell you Golden Corral isn't meant for golden boys like you? The only corraling you should be doing is among the single femmes in the English department. We hope you find your way back to UET soon and stop hanging around with that sad, artsy, saccharine Dustineesha couple. Yawn. They're just so boring with all their talk of honeymoons and community theatre and Christmas songs. Don't you know fashion accessories like you belong on the arm of a yummy Taterhead? Come back to the UET, A! It's just not the same without you!

While the group had lunch, one of my sources tells me she overheard A mention a permanent departure from the UET! Say it ain't so, A! It just can't be true! First our resident hottie disappears and now that he's finally come back, it's only to announce his permanent impending departure? A girl can't find many single handsome boys these days (Hazel's practically throwing herself at the few that do exist) and it's unbecoming for a vixen such as yours truly to beg, but this girl can only say she hopes it's a nasty rumor. UET can't do with one less Parker. However will we survive?

Stay tuned for more A spottings and updates...
You know you love me.
xoxo
Gossip Girl

PS-Dustin and Neesha Save the World will resume their ownership of this blog now.



more songs!

Dustin's Pick: "What Child is This?"
His Reason: "First off, I'd like to take this opportunity to throw out mad props to my home boy Henry VIII, a stone cold 16th century playa who never let the haters get him down. Wikipedia says he didn't write "Greensleeves" after all, thus stripping my fav Tudor mack daddy of the credit for writing the thugginest romanesca track ever, but that's aight. I'll pour one out for da bettah beheadah wit da mad cheddah any ol wayz. Represent, H-dogg 8!

"What Child is This?" is just the remix, but it's still pretty dope. I got all hella callouses tryin' to play it from my Christmas guitar book last year until I was finally like, yo, I'm just gonna strum the merde outta this. Screw this finger picking bizness. And you know something? That merde STILL sounded smooth! That's how come you know it's good.

If I wuz Henry da 8ff, I'd be like, "Bitches, I wrote this song, and it's for the ladies." 


Neesha's Pick: Adam Sandler's "The Chanukah Song" Parts 1-3
Her Reason: Let's face it, greater Christian population, we are not the only ones gearing up for a fabulous seasonal celebration. This is the holiday season, not just the Christmas season so let's be open-minded and pause for a minute to recognize Adam Sandler's clever tribute to the hugely important Jewish holiday, Chanukah. While many holiday songs focus on the holy family, Santa Claus, some sort of jingle bells (whether they're rocking, jingling on a roof or on reindeer), usually snow/winter themed and definitely inclusive of gifts and decorating, the Chanukah Song, instead, praises all who may be Jewish, are Jewish and, if nothing else, are converted Jewish or married into Jewish-uh...-ness? Adam Sandler points out various possible and definite members of the Jewish population and sings their praises. For the most part, these songs are pretty hilarious. They're the type of holiday song I don't get tired of hearing. They haven't been around long enough to have been butchered by remakes (think techno version of "Jingle Bells" without vocals or elevator versions of "Winter Wonderland." Painful!). Best of all, Adam Sandler's trio of Chanukah songs is just good fun. It's not offensive or obsessed with gifts and snow, it talks about people and it does so in good spirits. He makes people smile and laugh, even at themselves, with this song. And, damnit, someone needed to write a song in praise of Chanukah or any other religious holiday, for that matter! Us Christians aren't the only religion in town! So bring it on, Adam Sandler, I'm anxiously awaiting part 4!

xoxo
N

PS-Andrew Parker, if you find your way here via our facebook-welcome back! And, take note, you've been mentioned in earlier blogs. We're glad you're here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oh What Fun...

It is to run in a Jingle Bell 5k.

A little known fact about yours truly-I make up lyrics to songs all the time using popular, well-known tunes and they always rhyme (my songs, not the tunes). My college roommates used to do this and I'm fairly sure that's where the habit began.

The run was awesome! We all finished at a running pace. Lance came in second in his age division. Emily broke her goal of finishing under 35 minutes. I shaved a few minutes off my own time and Dustin, Brenda and Ben all came in running like a true team. The bunch of us made up team "Lance's Beard." It was wonderful. Those of us who finished, ran back to join and encourage our teammates who hadn't quite completed the run yet and we ran the last leg of the race with them, only jumping off the path to let them head through the finish line alone, in true style. Way to go, Lance's Beard! A true testament of team and Christmas spirit!

Yesterday, I started to write a blog about how much I hate Chia Pets. It wasn't always like that, though. I'd been fascinated with them for a while because of their longevity. The advertising campaign hadn't changed. The same early eighties commercials were being used (this was the early 2000s and even now they still do, really) and people were clearly still buying the Chia Pets. They'd evolved, even, from just a porcupine-looking Chia to various cartoon characters and trolls, depending on the trend. Because they were and are still around, I started to think that maybe there was something more to the Chia Pets than I knew. I started thinking there had to be a reason why people were buying them, which they were, or there wouldn't be money to spend on the continuous advertising for them.

So I sort of obsessed over the damn things for a while. I was completely into the commercials and applauded their longevity, until, that is, an ex-boyfriend was struck with the brilliant idea of going one step further with my minor obsession by buying me one for Christmas. At first, it was ok. The head was in the shape of TweetyBird and I followed the directions, mixing together a sludge of seeds and water until it was a dark brownish-black, then smothering the goo onto the head of my Chia. I sat it in the window where there was sunlight and kept it watered just as the directions prescribed. I didn't mind the Chia when it didn't have anything to pet, but when little sprigs started to pop up (and not all at once) it made me think of a balding man's head in reverse. One strand would come, then another would sprout, then a patch here and there. Imagine a mostly bald Tweety bird with a few stringy strands of green sprouts (yeah, like the sprouts you find on sandwiches and salads sometimes). Eventually, the entire head filled up so there were no bald-blackish gross spots. Instead, the Chia hair went crazy. It was like an overgrown field of weeds. Something was wrong, I decided, when I realized the Chia Pet was so hairy I couldn't look at it without feeling a little sick to my stomach.

I pulled out the directions only to discover that the package of seeds was not meant to be used all at once, as I had done, but in separate plantings. This way the life of the Chia would be longer. I looked from the directions to the Chia across the room: it's big Tweety smile and overgrown sprouty hair stared back at me. The hair was beyond unruly; it was a life unto itself and Tweety seemed to really dig it. 
What happened next is harder to explain so I've never done so until now. I can't figure out whether it was the goofy Tweety smile or the unlikely and unattractive green stalks of hair with mini-sprouts (Tweety was YELLOW! and, let's face it, didn't have hair anything like the Chia Tweety version!) at the tips or whether I had just gotten tired of avoiding eye-contact with the corner of the room the Chia resided in (I avoided it like the plague), but I suddenly found myself standing over the sink, warm water running, disposal grinding away within the mouth of the stainless steel basin, Chia pet in one hand while I frantically pulled off the green hair with the other and threw it into the disposal. I kept pulling off the hair and throwing it down the sink until Tweety was bald. Then I rubbed at the head of the Chia, removing every remnant of growth that had once existed. I didn't want to take any chance that it might grow back. I was like a woman possessed. I couldn't rest until I was certain the Chia's ability to grow hair was over. Forever. Some strong hold had taken over me and I could no longer stand sharing a studio apartment in Pittsburgh with a Chia-haired, toothy-smiled TweetyBird.

When I was finished assaulting the Chia, I turned it to face the wall behind the sink and tried never to look at it again. The day I moved out of my apartment, I donated the bald Chia pet to GoodWill. I couldn't bring myself to throw it out, since it hadn't ever actually done anything to me and I saw no reason to trash the poor bald thing, but I certainly couldn't take it with me-not after what had passed between us. No one I knew wanted it; the boyfriend's time had run out (hence-the "ex") but I hope Tweety Chia found a good home somewhere in the greater Pittsburgh area. I'm sort of sorry I couldn't be a good home for the Chia, but it really had a bad influence on my otherwise calm, accepting personality. I just didn't like the person it made me become. I mean, I'm the kind of girl that insists all of our ornaments should be put on the Christmas tree no matter what because it's their sole purpose in life. It's their one and only time to shine all year long and how dare we forbid them their only joy in life. It just wouldn't be right.

I feel good about donating the Chia and putting all the ornaments on the tree. That's the kind of person I want to be in my life right now. I know I could probably look for the symbolism in the Chia pet incident and the ex...blah blah...but I think, at this point in time, I'm just happy knowing everyone gets a fair shake in this house and no one is forsaken out of selfishness.

Tweety Chia, I hope you're being loved somewhere. 
Everyone else, come by and check out the tree, but please-no more ornaments. D might kill me soon :)

xoxo
N




Friday, December 5, 2008

Pre-Jingle Bell Run

We apologize in advance for the abruptness of this blog, but we have to awaken early in the morning for our 5k Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis and tonight, after our carb-heavy dinner, we decided to rent Lilo and Stitch in order to research one of our possible honeymoon destinations: Hawaii! :) Needless to say, now it's late and we're tired.

So, next up-the continuation of our countdown!

I've chose a little known song, at least little known to me, that I think is adorable: "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." I forget the lady's name who sings it, but I never heard it until this year and it caught my attention for that reason. The second reason I ended up liking it so much relies heavily on the fact that the woman's voice is sooo reminiscent of the old-school radio show singers. When I think of those giant radios people listened to programs through each night before television was invented, this woman has the precise voice I hear being projected from it. It also reminds me of the movie A Christmas Story when Ralphie is waiting to hear the secret message from Little Orphan Annie. Granted, it's a man doing the speaking on that radio show, but I imagine a woman singing "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" probably came on soon after, while Ralphie locked himself in the bathroom to decode the "Ovaltine" message (I know this movie too well, I'm just realizing).
My favorite part of the song is when she says she likes "hippopotamuseses" notice the over-pluralization. She says she does not, in fact, want a rhinoceros because only a hippopotamus would do. She would keep it in the garage and feed it and bathe it in there and she's quite certain hippopotamuseses like her, too. She talks about giving her hippo a massage and the contradiction of her mother saying the hippo would eat her, but her teacher saying hippos are vegetarians. WHAT? The conundrums of children's point of views! The song is adorable. Listen to it for a throwback to pre-television/pre-grandma getting run over by a reindeer and mommy kissing Santa Claus times (see how downhill Christmas songs went after hippos were no longer the fad? Suddenly it's all kissing Santa and running over Grandma!) It's worth a stroll down the long gone innocent part of memory lane.

D says: "I like Oh Tanenbaum," aka-Oh Christmas Tree. In fact, he likes the song so much he'll take the German version or the English version. I quote, "I think the Christmas tree does a lot of the heavy lifting come Christmas, but seldom is it praised."

That's it. Good reasoning. You should see our tree-it's awesome and even has presents beneath it already! But more on that tomorrow when we have a week-in-review (when there's time!).

What about you guys, favorite or most hated Christmas songs?

Otherwise, sweet dreams, all. If you want to meet us for pancakes after the race tomorrow morning think: IHOP at 9:15am.

Liz: Feel better. We'll miss you tomorrow, but you'll be there in spirit!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mean Girls

Tonight we laid on the sofa and watched Mean Girls on DVD. 

I was particularly impressed with the "Jingle Bell Rock" winter talent show scene. In case you forgot it, here it is: 



Now, it's no secret that I'm a huge Lilo fan, but watching this movie with Neesh -- the first time I got to see it with sound -- made me wish I could go back in time to before Lilo was a total train wreck and alter her future somehow. When she busts into "Jingle Bell Rock" a capella and saves the act, I knew two things: that my heart was breaking into bits and that I was going to blog about it later.

Lindsay, if you're reading this, my fiancee and I love you. You were great in Mean Girls, and I don't even know what you were doing in A Prairie Home Companion, but you weren't bad in that, either. Be honest with yourself this Christmas. You love Samro but you aren't in love with her. Thanks for accepting my Myspace friend request. Oh, and dye your hair red again because it was cute red.

Mean Girls is a great film. Reminds me of Tate Hall. 

(That's where we work)

Now, on with the countdown. 

#22
Neesha's Pick: "Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer"
Her Reason: "The lyrics speak for themselves on this one. It should have been #25.





Dustin's Pick: Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Carol of the Bells"
His Reason: "Maybe it's because my heart is so full of Christmas cheer that I don't even care that Trans-Siberian Orchestra's bell carol is pretentious schlock. Or maybe it's because I don't have to worry about Trans-Siberian Orchestra transforming other holiday's songs into guitar mashes and I therefore only have to hear them for about three weeks, and only on this one song. Because of that, they're kind of neat, like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, or Dynamite Hack, or Hayseed Dixie. Their one trick is taking one kind of song and remaking it so ironically and obnoxiously that it kind of seems good somehow. 

I don't know. I drum my fingers to this when it comes on the radio.  It's like Golden Corral. A musical feeding trough. 

I don't want to like it but I do. 


Letter to my Missing Student

Dear Missing Student,

The class and I have begun to worry. For a time, you were our shining beacon of attendance. You sat in the front row and didn't mind that I knew your boss and could easily keep tabs on you based on this piece of information (but never did). Most of the semester passed and we came to expect you in the front of the room. We came to rely on your unmistakable signature cologne-The Day After Drunk with that touch of the most fashionable drink from the previous night. Where did you go, oh-student-we-called-by-both-first-and-last-name?

More importantly, what did we do? Was it my request that you do more with your introductory paragraph than simply state the thesis? Did I offend thee when I asked for supporting sentences in your paragraphs? Or when I asked you to write more than a page for your first draft? More than that, student in absentia, you came for all the fun activities: the peer reviews, the candy activity, then you were gone. You left us with a hint of what your research paper would be on, then disappeared without word. No card, no email, no proposal or outline on "Why Marijuana Should be Legalized" or your second pick "Changing the Drinking Age to 18." I don't understand what happened. I thought we had mutually decided to end the semester with a grade rather than a "W." 

In conclusion, we are worried about you. Not in the "intervention" sort of way, but in the "are you alive, dear student?" sort of way. No one knows where you are or what happened to you. You have simply disappeared.

Please send word soon or I will be forced to send a spy to your place of work to be certain you are still alive. Seriously. I'm worried.

Sincerely,
Your English 1000 Teacher

PS-If you are lost, send word and a search party of peer editors will be sent to your aid.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We can hardly stand the wait

We're back for round two or, I should say, song number 23 on the Christmas Song Countdown!

Since I am going from mentionable but unliked songs, I will go ahead and say that number 23 was not a difficult pick. In fact, it's not exactly just one song, either, but an entire album.

# 23 on the countdown is the entire Chipmunks Greatest Christmas Hits album. That's right. All of em. Every one of em with special emphasis on "The Chipmunk Song" and "All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth."

I'm going to take this time to elaborate on why, precisely, I hate it: 

1-The Chipmunks are about as cool as the California Raisins no matter what songs they sing in or what season they sing it in. They have no business dancing around and singing. We eat raisins, who wants to imagine they're recreating showtunes or putting on musicals in your stomach or on their way down to your digestive system? With Chipmunks I find myself wondering-what do they even do? What is their purpose in life? Really, Chipmunks are glorified squirrels and when I think of squirrels around the holidays, I think of that scene from National Lampoon's Christmas where the chipmunk jumps out of the newly chopped Christmas tree and runs rampant through the house ruining Christmas Eve. This begs the question, if that chipmunk came complete with a drummer, guitarist and a bit of vocalized melody and harmony, would the Griswolds have been ok with their dinner ending up on the floor? Something tells me those Griswolds switch the radio station when Alvin, Simon and Theodore take to the airwaves. I do it, too. Who can blame them?

2. They have high pitched, computer-stylized voices that drive me up a wall. It's like they taught chalkboards how to harmonize when they're scratched, then taped it and called it "The Chipmunks."

3. I hate Dave. (This is particular to the Chipmunk Christmas song when he's yelling for Alvin to come join the group and finally screams, "Aalviiiiiiiiiiiiiin!"-picture a cartoon-close-up of the inside of his mouth, focusing on the tonsil that wiggles around as he screams for the elusive chipmunk). I've always thought he was a huge loser. Nowadays, his stereotypical character has been recreated in other shows: the single, musician father, raising his three, ahem, Chipmunks (in this case). Case in point: Rufus Humphrey from Gossip Girl-he's got two kids, both of which he has a fabulous relationship with and he's raising them on his own. One of his kids, Lil J, is sort of turning into a nightmare (think: Alvin the tween, real life, slightly mod-glam version. Oh, and female!). While Dave was the prototype for this kind of father, he was a weak, underdeveloped one and he yelled entirely too much for my liking. He was always being thwarted, too, and deceived. He was such a fool and even as a kid I thought he was an idiot. Plus, who thinks it's a good idea to make a rock band out of chipmunks? No one!



Otherwise, I just don't like the hokiness of the songs. I'm not sure how else to explain it besides hokey, really. I have strong feelings against the Chipmunks singing-not so much when I see them on a t-shirt, but when they're animated with lifelike motions, I tend to feel a bit indignant and want to sick my dogs on them. No Alvin and the Chipmunks in this house. Christmas would be a happier season without those rodent-half-breeds.

On that note, I'll leave you with my more chipper half :)

Dustin's Pick: "25th December"
His Reason: "Here's a pretty decent but poorly titled Christmas song by Everything But the Girl, a band with a hard time coming up with good song titles and band names. 

One has to do a bit of Jeopardy!-type thinking to speculate on how they named themselves that. Perhaps, before practice one day in the garage, the band members were playing that desert island game, and one guy was like, "What would you want to have on your desert island, dude?" And the other guy's like, "Everything but the girl. She's always telling me I should, like, you know, go to college, or try to get a job, or take a shower ... whatever." And the first guy's like, "I got it! We'll call our band that!"

Or maybe during a band member's coke intervention, one guy was like, "Chrissakes. What else can you snort up that powdery snozz of yours?" 

And seconds later, joila! Everything But the Girl was named.

"25th December" has a nostalgic narrator who wistfully glances back from the plateau of early mid-life and wonders how things got how they are, as I sort of find myself doing sometimes. It's sad, gosh darnit, but it's also hopeful. Dude's reconciling with his past, admitting to himself that there were important things he did not know, things he forgot to appreciate. But he's aware of a changeable future. It's A Christmas Carol again. You guys know how I feel about that story. 

Gets me every time. 


Orr Street Hunger



Last night, we went to Orr Street Studios to hear Allyson Miller and Liz Langenmak (my dearly beloved Columbia bridesmaid-represent!) read. I haven't been to Orr since Fi and I read there nearly two years ago (could it seriously be that long!?!). What a strange time that was! Here is a photo I dug up from that reading. I think it took place in May 2006, perhaps? Does that sound right, Fi?

At any rate, they have drastically changed things in Orr Street Studios since then. The entire background of this photo of me is now covered in artwork. The giant garage door is no longer a door, but a whole open passageway to a series of rooms that I went down in search of the bathroom (to no avail). Where I am sitting is actually where the entire audience and readers now sit. The readers face the wall behind me while the audience faces to my right. That spindle table was nowhere in sight and neither was the woman who spoke to Dustin and I about her poetry after the reading. (She had an office, so I assumed she worked there-in the studio-or something!)

Anyhow, needless to say: Liz and Allyson rocked! I love the way poets conjure up words and fit the unlikely pieces together to make something sound beautiful even if, ordinarily on its own, it wouldn't. Liz reads like a pro, I should mention. Not even the vaguest hint of the dry mouth that overtakes me when I attempt to read. I hate reading. Just one of the many perks of being a writer :) And when I return home, I will post pics of them reading so you don't have to imagine it. Plus, then you can see for yourself just how much this little studio has grown! I'm so proud of it. It's like the 'little studio that could!' I had my reservations about it at first, when we read there, and wondered if it'd be much like some of our local places that crash and burn under a year after opening...but, alas, this one has proved me wrong! Congratulations and continued success, Orr Street! You know they've made it big when they become a venue for the unmatchable Miller-Langenmak duo.

The downside to last night is that I felt really crappy. I suppose that loooooooooong trip back in the car didn't help the cold, not to mention I completely forgot to take the antibiotic I'm supposed to be taking to battle this cold, flu...whatever it is...for the last two days. I need to remember to do so upon returning home today. Being hungry and tired (since I did not obtain as much sleep as I should've the night I returned home), put me in a terrible mood. Poor Dustin didn't know what to make of it. I felt all lethargic and growly-both my stomach and my mood. I only perked up after eating some cheese and making a definite plan to eat food following the reading. Who knew the Monster of Starvation would come thrashing out out of nowhere!? That usually doesn't happen to me. I think it was the combo of hunger and sleep-deprivation. Anyhow, thank God for Flatbranch! We also had the pleasure of meeting Angela R's beau (is that how you spell that?) who was a sweetheart! Hope to see more of him!

As Fi mentioned, I am going to continue listing the songs I hate first of the Christmas ones. The noteworthy ones I feel need to be addressed, that is. I already know what my pick is for tonight, but have to wait for Fi to chime in, as well.

About the Christmas choice for the songs list yesterday. I do not like that stupid song about the whole year being a melodramatic breakdown for the girl who keeps forgetting shit like her cranberry sauce. She's been chasing some guy and then they have a "Christmas spirit" moment. Wake up, honey! Christmas is not about finally entrapping a guy you'd been half-assedly chasing all year, then bonding with him over canned cranberry sauce and a 7-11 Turkey for Two.



Last night's, just to clarify, had more to do with the desperation of the singer/narrator than anything. Tonight's, however, is an entire album! Just you wait!



More news on the desire to have a "Christmas ball" or gala later.



xoxo
N

Congrats, Allyson and Liz! You guys were awesome!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

There's been steady debate at our home/animal habitat regarding our 25 Days of Christmas song blog project.

Neesha wants to proceed from least favorite to most favorite each day until Christmas. She doesn't think she can come up with enough Christmas songs she likes. 

I say we should list all the horrible Christmas songs at once up front, get it all out of our system, and do ones we like from then on -- one a day -- because I can think of at least 10 atrocious Christmas songs right now off the top of my head without even trying. That's in addition to the awful Paul McCartney one I used yesterday, "Wonderful Christmastime," which I maintain is totally bad and could not possibly have been recorded in more than a single take. 

But I'm not here to rag on "Wonderful Christmastime." I'm here to say I think we should make our least favorite Christmas song list separate. Because it's a long, long climb from the God-awful "Christmas Shoes," so ridiculous and awful that it makes "Wonderful Christmastime" sound like "Hey Jude" ... so long a climb that I'm afraid it would take until St. Paddy's Day to reach the lip of the musical crap canyon. 

That's my two cents, anyway. Until further notice, I'm only picking good Christmas songs from here on out. 

Now, on with the countdown.

#24
Dustin's Pick: Every song in The Muppet Christmas Carol except for "When Love is Gone." 
Dustin's Reason: "There's a moment in Muppet Christmas Carol when Statler and Waldorf -- the Marley brothers in the film -- advise Michael Caine's Scrooge to 'leave comedy to the bears.' I'll add to that by advising him to leave singing to the frogs. His inexplicable duet during the blitzkrieg of his past Christmases is catastrophic on an array of levels, and it represents the only point at which the film sags. Why is he harmonizing with his unrequited love? Isn't his failure to achieve harmony with his past the engine driving his last-minute redemption? Doesn't fit. And besides, when the variations on a theme outshine the theme, something's seriously not working.  

That said, there are some genuine Christmas gems tucked into this movie. Among them, the opening number, 'Scrooge.'


Also good and Muppety is the Ghost of Christmas Present's song, "It Feels Like Christmas."


I won't go to the mat for just anything, but Muppet Christmas Carol, yes. I'm pretty sure when I cried during Tiny Tim's "Bless Us One and All" when my high school girlfriend and I rented it, that was the beginning of the end for our relationship. I'll have you know, though, that I watched this on Thanksgiving, and I cried then, just like I've cried EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. 

EVER. 

Neesha's Pick: "Christmas Wrapping"
Her Reason: "It doesn't have a very good narrative thread. And it's dumb."
(Pretty sure this isn't the real video, but the insipid tune should be familiar)


Hollow to Hem

Someone should've told me how cold it is in MO and I would've kept my ass in the south! I was stunned to see a dusting of snow when I came into three hours' distance of Columbia, but utterly shocked when it came thrashing down on my car in most of the states I passed through yesterday on my way home.

But home I arrived and Mom informed me my wedding gown cannot be ordered until they have my "hollow to hem" measurement. I like the sound of that...hollow to hem almost as much as I like the use of italics. I bet you wouldn't have guessed that about me, given my penchant for emboldening words and phrases in my blogs, but I really really dig italics and try to reserve them. After I got off the phone with Connie and assuring her I'd find someone who could accurately measure my "hollow to hem," I found myself seeking out other usages for this phrase. What else can I use "hollow to hem" to describe? Any ideas?

What if I used it in lieu of the word "blessings?" For example, "Don't count your hollow to hem too soon!" Or if it could be used instead of "to and fro" or some other sort of phrase that means that. For example: "I've been running from hollows to hems all day trying to find this Christmas gift for my brother..." Any other creative uses for my new favorite phrase???

So I'm home and the house is taking on a festive Christmas atmosphere, albeit it a little crowded round the living room corners, but nothing that can't be switched up a bit. Birds happily chirped me awake, Bogey and Byz were thrilled to be free from their car-prison and I was bursting with joy at being reacquainted with my Fi. 

This morning, I read a book, unpacked the car and caught up on some blogs. Within moments, I will be putting my students' grades into Blackboard so they can stop hounding me about them and then I will try to find last night's episode of Gossip Girl to watch. I told Dustin Bart Bass was going to die. This meant little to him since he wasn't positive as to who, precisely, Bart Bass was...but he's a good sport and checked out my suspicions online after the show and confirmed them. Whew! Thank God for Dustin!

Lastly, before we lengthen our 25 Songs of Christmas List, I just wanted to clarify. I do thoroughly dislike that song "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" for multiple reasons.

1-It seems dirty to imagine "Santa" kissing anyone outside of his jolly Mrs. Claus counterpart-which means she'd have to be red-faced, squinty-laughter eyed, round, grey, short and dressed in red. No Mommy looks like that.

2. I do NOT like how it takes children's intelligence for granted. This image of mommy kissing Santa leaves only a few options-either Mommy is cheating on Daddy with Santa Claus (dirty!!!) or Daddy is dressed up like Santa and that's why Mommy is playing tonsil hockey with him by the Christmas tree while the kids are upstairs supposedly sleeping.

Doesn't that just live a very UN-Christmasy feeling in your heart? It's enough to dredge up the cool black heart of a certain Mr. Grinch that may make an appearance somewhere down the line in our Top 25 Countdown.

For the next installment in our list, tune in later today! Until then, it's good to be home and I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving break. Remember, 24 days 'til Christmas so you better starting counting your hollows to hems.

xoxo
N

Monday, December 1, 2008



Right now, Neesha is roaring across the frostbitten landscape, and these two are watching to make sure she keeps both hands on the wheel.

Or at least Bogey, the squirrel-from-Ice Age-looking white one, is watching Neesha. Byzantia is holding her head up, but in her mind ... well, OK. Go turn on your TV and tune it to a channel that only gets static snow, crank up the volume as loud as it will go, stare at a point on the wall without blinking until your eyes burn, and hum Hall and Oates's "You Make My Dreams Come True," and that's the Bizzy mind, more or less.

She's my favorite. More docile. Like a brontosaurus. Brain like a walnut.

This is it, folks -- our big 25 Days o' Christmas Countdown! Neesha had a good idea earlier where we'll each post a song every day until Christmas, from least favorite to awesomest Christmas song ever. Get excited!

#25

Neesha's pick: "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."
Her reason: "I hate that song."

Dustin's song: "Wonderful Christmastime"
His reason: "It's like someone took my old Yamaha keyboard and synthesizer back in time to Paul McCartney's 1979 Christmas party, plugged it in, and said, "Uh, I don't really know how to play any songs, but the echo on this baby is wicked! Freestyle! Freestyle!"

And Paul McCartney, for lack of anything better to do in 1979, was like, "OK."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Buzz

Goodness, I am sick! I have been bedridden just about all day. I suppose it kind of worked out since the weather is snow from a few hours outside of here to Columbia so being sick on top of knowing how bad the weather would be on my drive gave me two valid reasons to not feel terrible about not getting home today. The biggest downfall, which is probably quite obvious, dear readers, is that Fi is home and I'm not and I miss him like crazy and, I suppose a second downfall to that is that I won't be able to teach my classes tomorrow. Luckily, I do have the most wonderful fiance ever and he has offered to take them for me. Thank you so much, Fi!!!

Since I was home alone and the rest of the fam was out and about shopping or churching or heading to their respective homes, I ended up on the couch drinking lots of water, pumping in tons of meds and staring in horror at the women on the show Bridezillas. We don't get cable in Columbia since it's kind of a luxury we can't afford on our twenty-cents a day stipend. In fact, we only get NBC which was all we wanted during the election (SNL-Tina Fey as Sarah Palin-who didn't watch that???). Therefore, whenever I am faced with a television that has more than one channel, I can't believe it. It's overwhelming and I realize how great it is that we don't have cable or we'd be glued to the damn t.v. 24-7. I certainly didn't need to watch that show all day (I think it was a marathon), but I learned an awful lot about the kind of bride people are afraid you (I use "you" in a general sense) are going to be when you first get engaged. Also, I have to admit, I watched some of the movie American Dreamz with the adorable Mandi Moore and I must say-it was the worst thing ever! What were they thinking with that film?

Anyhow, after watching the marathon, I realized there are dozens of other things I need to get moving on in the next six months if we're going to have a wedding. Too many things to even begin labeling, but I hope we're able to really get going on these wedding tasks so I'm not a complete psycho bitch by the time the week before the wedding comes. I should say, though, Fi is helpful and excited about the wedding, which seems to be half the problem those brides had-they were doing it on their own, for the most part. The other issue I noticed is that they all had some sort of "ideal" picture in their mind of what their wedding would be like...this vision they'd been tweaking since middle school while playing MASH! Luckily, I do not have that vision and I do have a fabulous Fi so I don't think I'll have any wonderful stories for you all about how I've suddenly turned into a crazed lunatic the week before the wedding...but I'm sure if I do, Fi will fill you in!

As for the wedding gown, a decision has been made...but I haven't made it! That sounds awfully suspect, doesn't it? One of the dresses I loved isn't being "made" yet, it's only been revealed on the runway so it probably isn't an option, which is cool. I loved it, but the veil was even more amazing than the dress. That left two options-both of which I tried on earlier in the week and both of which my mom had seen me in. Since I couldn't decide, I left the decision in my mother's hands and I won't even know which dress she's chosen until my first fitting. Some might wonder whether this is really all that wise, and let me reassure you-I loved these dresses equally. Really. I could not make a choice and part of me wanted someone else to just decide for me! When my mom casually suggested it, I pounced. I told her there'd be one alteration I wanted and that both of the dresses would need it so it didn't matter at all which she chose! She says she already knows and it was a no-brainer for her, but I'm clueless...so now the wait to see which one will be my gown is on! And I'm thrilled the decision has been made and by this time tomorrow, the dress will have been ordered!

What do you guys think of that idea? Would you leave that sort of decision in someone else's hands? Or would you feel like only you could be trusted to make that sort of call? (These, along with some moments on the bridal shows today, are times when I wonder if I'm too laid back about the wedding planning.)

Speaking of tomorrow, I can't wait to get back to D and our home in Columbia. I miss him tremendously. He got home safely tonight, thank God for that! I get so nervous when he travels. I couldn't stand the idea of him getting stuck or in an accident...or God forbid, anything else! So-Beth, thanks for making sure he ate tonight! D-thanks for covering my classes and I'll be home soon, my love! I miss and love you!

xoxoxo

PS-Also...tomorrow night is the return of Gossip Girl!!! And rumor has it, a death is in store!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Still Giving Thanks

I am in love with my dresses! I know this sounds weird, but it's finally come to the point where I have chosen three dresses I adore (two are quite similar) and am waiting to find out what the bridal salon can and can't get in for me. As I mentioned, I'm stressed about this wedding gown issue! Six months to get it in and a week to find it (my own fault for living in the middle of nowhere!). However, I had a major breakdown yesterday. When we got home last night, my mom told me she thinks I'm "overweight" and I thought I'd either cry my face off or starve myself for the next six months, but earlier the women at the bridal salons and other customers made me feel amazing about my appearance (unsolicitedly and without knowing that in less than a few hours time, their compliments were going to come in handy since my mom's comment burst my momentary "feel good about my appearance" mood) me I looked fab in every single dress I put on that it must be impossible for me to pick one and another mother of a bride said I had a "perfect model's body!" I know that's not accurate, but at the point I was at yesterday, I needed to hear something that superficial about myself :) I must mention and say thank you to other near-strangers that have helped me earn back a little of my self-esteem after the thoughtless Mom-comment. In her defense, I don't think she can help it. She and my sister are tiny. I mean, zero or less than that, so to them, I'm huge: tall and heavy...etc. It was a bitch growing up with them and their tininess! So, needless to say, I was in a very bad mood when I went to bed last night. Thank you, Fi, for the wonderful words of encouragement in your blog and on the phone. I miss you tremendously and am VERY excited to see you tomorrow! Wooohooooooooooo!

On to the Great Gown Search Part Two!

My lovely sisters, darling niece and Mom accompanied me on an outing to Savannah. The first bridal store we went to was called BleuBelle Bridal and it had the most incredible sales women. We climbed up a few stories in a historic old Savannah building, all wood floors and taller-than-the-sky ceilings. The gallery was stunning and so were the gowns! I tried on a bunch of absolutely gorgeous ones and left the store thinking I had found what I wanted. While we perused dress racks, I got to wander the store in a luxe white robe, white heels with a glass of champagne. Does it get any better than that? Plus, the color of much of their store (blue) was the exact shade of blue Fi and I have picked as one of our wedding colors. We dig the blue and brown combo: elegant, a touch conservative, but fun and classy, too. We love the sophisticated combo of the two colors and blue has been my favorite color forever, so it seemed rather appropriate that the store I thought I found my dress in used the color as it's motif!

When we finished at BleuBelle Bridal, we headed down to another store and tried more dresses. This place, however, was crammed with dresses. We struggled just to separate them from one another on the racks! It was like being at a department sale that's liquidating and trying to get rid of everything at once: a nightmare. We tried some stuff, but no one helped, no questions went answered, and we left feeling hungry and disappointed. Major credit goes out to my adorable three and a half-year old niece who was such a trooper. She never complained and even tried on a few flower girl dresses for us. It was awesome and she is truly the best kid I know.

Then we ate and I grew exhausted and overwhelmed. Everything started meshing together in my mind. I didn't like the dresses in the photos my mom and sisters took of me with them on as much as I thought I did. Dresses I thought I didn't like as much, I liked more all of a sudden and I was just a mess of confusion. Then Mom dropped the overweight comment and I thought Fi and I should seriously consider eloping. Luckily, he calmed me down and all kinds of rationale flooded back to me as I curled up on the couch to sleep. (Don't ask why I had to sleep on the couch when there are five fully furnished bedrooms in the house...it's just too ridiculous to get into!) When I woke this morning, I felt better about the whole situation.

The sisters and I went to a place called "All About Me" for my hair-trial and make-up appointment (keep in mind, I have to do this stuff any chance I get when I'm in town since it's rare and I don't know when I'll be back to the island from one month to the next and time's not getting any slower!). We all had mani-pedis together, which was relaxing, and sipped on mimosas. Again, another much-needed day of destressing.

The woman who did my hair was wonderfully happy to make any alterations and work with me on any and everything I wanted done and the woman who did my make-up used to do the make-up for runway models in New York. She was amazing. My sisters, Mom, brothers and dad all thought the make-up looked incredibly soft, natural and enhancing. (My family has a knack for honesty!) She did a wonderful job of listening to what I did and didn't like and understanding that I'm an idiot when it comes to make-up but that I did not want to look like a clown or someone that didn't resemble me.

When the day ended, I pulled up photos of the dresses I liked most, widdled down the list and have finally decided on three definites. As in-I would be happy with any of these three because they are all stunning and beautiful...I think, anyhow.

I got in touch with the bridal store and they are getting me more info on the dresses and then we'll be all set! Plus, they're having a twenty-percent off all their dresses sale, which technically ended yesterday, but that they've extended to me for as long as it takes for me to decide (which has to be now).

Ok-rambling. Anyhow, my sister-in-law Seale and I went to the Tanger outlets to try and get some Christmas shopping done and were incredibly successful. I'm nearly finished with everyone on my side of the family-and done with Fi for his birthday (December 18th!) and Christmas! I'm so happy about how productive it went and the stores weren't even crowded. It was truly the best shopping experience I've ever had so soon after Thanksgiving.

It's been a great week with the family and I am going to miss them like crazy when I leave, but I have to admit, I currently miss Dustin like crazy. It's ridiculous! It'll be wonderful to be home to see him and finish up the semester.

Today, since I missed yesterday, I'm thankful for all of the blessings I have in my life daily and that every day of my life is filled with happiness and love. And, of course, I'm thankful to all of you for reading-even when these blogs are mundane or less-than-exciting. You're all quite wonderful, if you don't mind me saying!

I leave you all with a photo montage of my family as it is tonight and some from Thanksgiving since I didn't share it with you earlier. Happy Thanksgiving, still! :)