Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Today I was a substitute teacher at my mom's school. I am not sure how I got talked into doing this, other than my mom kept nagging me until I said I would do it (she's clever like that).

I left my house this morning and stopped at Starbucks to get some coffee. I needed some energy. I wish I had possessed the foresight to tell them rather than add extra espresso in my coffee, to instead add a dose of loratab and valium, because kindergarteners are LOUD. Especially when you are the substitiute music teacher. I was unnerved by the end of the day.

I parked myself in the main office until all of the teachers got out of their meeting. While I was in there, I heard a small someone screaming bloody murder 3 feet outside of the office. "Great," I thought to myself. "The day I am fortunate enough to sub is the day a hostage situation breaks out in the school." Intrigued, I lean forward in my chair to see what is going on. Turns out there's no hostage situation; rather, someone has cut in front of the line leader, which is much much worse. Apparently, line-cutting is the 8th deadly sin, not noted in Scriptures.

After witnessing this, I contemplate escaping, but my mom's boss appears. She shows me to the music room and gave me the schedule, etc. The good thing about being a substitute music teacher is that you can put on one of 400 videos that are sing-a-longs about Jesus and call it a day. I thought that this was brilliant.

The classes rotate to music in 15 minute increments, which is about how long the kids' attention spans last, even with the latest Donut Repair Gang video playing (Donut Repair Gang = this generation's Psalty the Psalmbook or McGee and Me). The three year old classes came first.

If the two's are notoriously terrible, the three's must be REALLY terrible. My first class was not even in their seats before someone ELSE does the unthinkable and cuts in front of the line leader. I look at the clock and decide it is going to be a long morning. The children sit down and the line leader, incensed by the malefaction that has been committed against her, refuses to sit by the offender, which of course, is plausible reason for the offender to burst into tears. To make her feel better, I sit down beside her. This tactic worked, because when I got up to turn up the volume, the offender whispered across the semi-circle to her former friend, "the TEACHER is sitting by ME!!"

Some of the children were watching the Mother Goose Sings Gospel video, others were poking each other or playing with various buttons, bows, and imaginary airborne objects. Then there was the teacher, who was glued to the TV. Two things were keeping my attention: first, the horrible acting. These kids weren't even trying. Second, each song that the kids were singing (if by singing, you mean lip synching with about a 2 second delay) was a common folk song with new words about Jesus and other Bible characters. Therefore, "The Farmer and the Dell" became "The Woman and the Well" and "Three Blind Men" became "Three Wise Men." I was stupefied.

This class left after their 15 minutes was up, and in came the next class. I introduced myself to them and told them we'd be watching some Mother Goose. One adorable little boy with curly blonde hair wrinkled his nose and informed me that he didn't like Mother Goose.

In case you weren't aware, it's mind-boggling how many deep secrets are bestowed upon you when in the presence of a kindergartener. Just this morning, and with absolutely no prompting whatsoever, here are the things these kids felt that I needed to be aware of:

  • I don't like Mother Goose.
  • My eyes are blue!
  • My mommy is having a baby!
  • You are too big for that chair.
  • I own this video.
  • I have a boo-boo right here.
  • He is four.
  • There are 6 empty chairs here.
  • I have seen this one before.
  • That's a cow.
You get the idea. Anyway, after starting more Mother Goose Forces Rhymes Sings Gospel, the little curly haired fellow followed me to my seat and asks to sit with me. He remains perched beside me for the rest of the 15 minutes, with his hand in my lap, except on the occasion he grabs my hand to hold it. He looks up at me every few minutes and makes comments, including some of the ones listed above and my personal favorite, "I love you!" This would have meant a lot more to me if he had been twenty years older, but it was still precious of him. I think he'll grow up to be a heart breaker.

After my last three class, I go to visit the two-year-olds. The music teacher makes a "house call" to their classroom everyday, since I suppose trying to get about 15 two-year-olds literally from one end of the building to the other would pose an assortment of obstacles. The problem with my "house call" was that no one had told me to bring a video with me, and I temporarily forgot almost every folk song I learned in kindergarten (I blame my iPod). We hit the classics first, like "Jesus Loves Me" and the "Itsy Bitsy Spider", which we then variated into the "Big, Big Spider, the Baby Baby Spider, the Super Fast Spider, and the Super Slow Spider. Then I read them a book based on the song "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands." The book included the clap/stamp/nod verses that we all know and love, and took creative license on the song to include Roar/spin/flap your wings/jump around, and more. We then "made music" with our bodies by clapping our hands, stomping our feet, rubbing our palms, etc., then hit up Jesus Loves Me one last time.

After my experience with the two-year-olds, I returned back to the music room and took stock of the videos on the TV cart. I found one that my old roommate, an elementary education major, used to have in our dorm room. She would buy videos for her class and screen them at home to see if she could make a lesson plan out of it. I happened to be in the living room the day she was watching Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and I thought it was wonderful. I almost switched my major, just so I could have an excuse to watch it. Anyway, I was delighted to discover Chicka Chicka Boom Boom on the TV cart, and put it in so my next class, the four-year-olds, could watch it.

When they came in, I introduced myself, and so I could watch Chicka Chicka Boom Boom without interruptions, I decided to try my luck. "Welcome to music! I am Miss Lindsay, I am here for Miss Luanne. Now we're going to watch a video, and you can sing along as much as you want. But this is music class, not talking class, so we won't talk while the video is on, okay?" (Note: oddly enough, in all but one class, talking was not a problem. The main difficulty I ran into was getting them to keep their bottoms in their seats. This kindergarten needs a regular dance class incorporated into the curriculum, because rather than SING to the songs, they all preferred to express themselves through dance.)

It kind of worked, or maybe they had just come from the playground and were tired. Either way, I got to watch all of the alphabet letters meet each other at the top of the coconut tree (the plot of the song/video). After
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, there were more short movies on the video. Knowing this, the class decided that it was of utmost importance to see the video's box to see the screencaps of the videos still to come. They actually got into a fight over it. I grabbed the box, held it out so everyone could see it, and then took it with me to my seat. At this point I was convinced that it is entirely possible that kindergarteners could fight over air.

My Sunday night babysitting charge
was in my last class of four-year-olds. He walked in, saw me, and smiled really big. He came up to hug me, and the other boys and girls, sensing that this is how their new subsitute teacher wishes to be greeted, surrounded me and hugged me. I about melted. Children are so sweet.

The last two classes went by without any big problems. I stayed to help some of the teachers with the "lunch bunch" (opening juice boxes, etc) and then hit the road. After I left, I had an ironic realization: there is probably more job security in substitute teaching than I will have in whatever field finally decides to accept me. Is it possible to become a professional substitute teacher? Are the benefits good? More importantly, do I get to leave work at noon everyday?

Monday, March 13, 2006


Last night it was my pleasure to babysit for the two cutest boys on the face of the planet. No, really. They are that cute. The oldest one is 5 and the little one will be 3 in two weeks. Of course, when I asked him when his birthday was, he squealed "Two hours!!" (Rather than correct him, I almost asked him to say it again. He is precious!) At the mention of birthdays, the older one ran off to get something, and when he came back, he had with him a Birthday Party Catalog. Now, for the convenience of parents everywhere, mother and child can sit down with a catalog to pick out what "kind" of party to have. We looked at it so that they could show me what kind of party the little one was having in "two hours", and what kind of party the oldest one had last year.

The kinds of parties kids are having these days are crazy. Basically, with the help of said catalog, you can theme your party on any cartoon, TV show (reality TV included), animal or lifestyle possible. And the favors and decorations that are at your fingertips waiting to be ordered after deciding on your theme are ENDLESS!

Take for example, the cutesy, girly, shopping-makeup-and-heels party. Gone are the days when your have to subject your party guests to drinking from normal cups. Now, with a touchtone phone and major credit card, your guests can drink from purple go-go boot plastic cups! The "leg" of the boot is the cup, and it stems up from a pointed toe and chunk heel. I WANT A GO-GO BOOT CUP!

Anyway, all the talk about parties got me thinking on the ones Jennie and I had growing up, most of which were dress up or cartoon related. I had a lot of swim parties, since my birthday is in the summer. Since her birthday is in the winter, Jennie had an ice skating party (which makes a lot of sense now). I had a mini-golf party when I turned 3, and I remember that party because I kept getting in trouble for leaving the "course" and sneaking back to the table where my presents were piled up and trying to open them. Jennie and I each had roller skating parties. I had a Mickey Mouse party once, and a theater party, where my guests and I went to a little dessert/coffee house theater and watched a play. I remember having a paints-n-shapes party. Jennie had a "fashion show" party, where everyone came dressed to the nines and we put on a fashion show.

Even better than the birthday parties for US were the birthday parties we'd have for our cabbage patch dolls. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. The little girls that lived on our street would bring their dolls over, and we'd decorate cookies and sing "Happy Birthday" to whichever of mine or Jennie's dolls was celebrating a birthday. It wasn't like this was something we decided to do one day while we were playing. This was a pre-planned event. I think we might have even had a pet party once, for our dog Barkley.

So I guess that parties, just like technology and toys, have come along way since when I was a child. Today's options are limitless. In the catalog alone, there were
favors/decorations/supplies for a Batman party, Bratz dolls party, Cowboy party, Army party, jungle party, Spongebob Squarepants party, and my personal favorite, an American Idol party, which I have decided to host for my birthday this summer. You know how for a Cinderella party, you hire someone to be Cinderella and show up? I could hire an Idol reject to come show up. There's at least one in every state! Then we could ask him/her to sing, and in a grown up version of "pin the tail on the donkey", we could play "(verbally) pin the insult on the tonedeaf". We could pay homage to Paula Abdul and instead of "musical chairs", play "Magical Pills." Then, we would vote on the order in which the guests leave the party. The person with the most votes stays the longest, while the person with the fewest votes is sent home immediately. As each guest leaves, I will stand by the door, and in true Kellie Pickler fashion, say "THAYN KEW!" and goodbye!

Friday, March 10, 2006


Today started out as a normal day. I woke up around 11 am, had coffee and a bagel, checked my email, got about 3 or 4 consecutive calls from my mother then went to shower so I could run errands. I grabbed everything I needed for my errand spree: sweater to drop off at the dry cleaners, coupon and diploma to take to the frame shop, dress to get a price adjustment on and prescription to refill at Target, and so on. I hit the pavement, stopping at the framing shop, dry cleaners, Barnes and Noble, and Bed Bath and Beyond. My last stop was Target. I had two tasks to complete in the store: first, get my sister's cat's prescription refilled. He takes Thyroid pills, which I happen to find ridiculous and maintain that putting him to sleep is the cheaper alternative. He's had about 18 good years on this earth, and HAS to be on his 11th or 12th life by now. My second task was to get money back on a dress that I bought last Saturday and went on sale Sunday for $4 cheaper. $4 back on that + $5 back on the apron I also bought last week and for which I now had a coupon = my ticket to see Failure to Launch (new Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey movie) tonight with my sister!

First, I stopped at the customer service desk to handle the dress situation. I explained to the customer service lady that I had lost the receipt, but since the dress was on sale, could she look up the transaction on my debit card and give me money back? She said no. Then I asked if she could do a return on the dress and let me buy it back at the new price? She said she could return the dress, but I would have to go get another one from the floor and buy it back at another register. I told her there were no more of them. Then, she kind of shrugged her shoulders and said, "Well, without the receipt, there's nothing I can do."

Disgruntled, I put the dress back in my bag and headed off toward the pharmacy counter. I give the effeminate man behind the counter the pill bottle, and tell him I need to refill my cat's prescription (how embarrassing). He looks at the bottle, goes over to the computer and types in some stuff, then comes back to me and says "Ma'am, your cat isn't in our system, so
this is going to sound kind of silly, but you need to fill out a patient profile on him." We both laugh out loud at how absurd this is. He gives me the little notepad. Still laughing, I sign Pumpkin up for Target's pharmacy. The form looked like this when I finished it:

Name: Pumpkin
Sex: Pet
E-mail Address: n/a
Signature: a pawprint, followed by my signature

I give him back the form and we laugh some more. He tells me it will be about 20 minutes, and I go off in search of a recipe box. I find one and wander around the store a little longer before I decide just to park it at the pharmacy counter. When I get there, another pharmacist informs me that they are out the cat's pills, and unless I want to wait until Monday, I should try somewhere else.

I head back for my car and pass the customer service counter again. Noticing that there is a different lady working there now, I decide to try my luck again. Surely what I am asking them to do cannot be that hard.

I step up to the counter again and explain my dilemma. The girl tells me the same thing, that I would have to rebuy another dress because if they try to return then rebuy merchandise in the same transaction, the register will lock up. I explain that there are no more of these dresses, and if she'll return it, I offer to take my dress to one of the normal check out registers behind us to rebuy it. Clearly, I am perplexed at why I couldn't keep both the dress and the $4 I feel I am due. Luckily for me, there is a manager lurking nearby. She overhears the conversation and comes over to help the Target Team Member that is assisting me. With the ease it would have required if I had asked them to blink or breathe, the manager shows the girl how to complete the transaction, and in no time flat I am $4 richer and noticeably triumphant. I grab the dress, put it in the bag with my new recipe box, collect my new receipt and my purse and head for the door.

Halfway to my car, I start reaching in my purse for my keys. I dig and dig, and then when I get to my car, I take out the contents of my purse and line them up on my bumper so I can find my keys. Once I reach the bottom of my keyless purse, I check in my Target bag where my recipe box and dress are. No keys.

I turn around and head back INTO Target to retrieve my keys which I figure must be at the customer service desk. When I get there, I ask the girl if she had seen any keys. "Yes ma'am, there were some keys here, but I guess the customer after you took them 'cause they're not here now. I'm really sorry."

WTF? A lady just made off with my keys? Now fearing the safety of my car, I peek out of the doors to make sure it's still there. (At this point I should remind you [or inform you if you don't know me that well] that last summer my car was broken into. I still get angry just thinking about it.) Since my car and its contents do not
appear to be in any immediate danger, I dash back to the pharmacy counter, hoping maybe I left them there. No keys.

I almost start to cry. My sister and mother are both at work and unless I find my keys I will be stranded at Target until 5. I go back to the customer service desk where I just stand about 10 feet away, hoping to silently threaten the girl at the register with my presence. It works, because she begins looking for my keys around the register in what resembles a bob and weave maneuver. As she moves stuff around, she keeps apologizing to me.

Wondering if I should cry or panic, I do neither. I just stand there, clutching all of my stuff, with my eye on my car, which remains intruder-free. Deciding I have to take some action or risk spending the night at Target, I approach the counter again. I ponder pitching a fit, but it's no one's fault but my own since I left my keys there.

The manager comes back over, probably wondering why I am still in the store, and the girl explains the problem to her. The manager summons someone named "AP" to the customer service desk. I suggest pulling up the customer's transaction and getting her name and looking her up in the phone book and calling her. By the time I get this suggestion out on the table, AP has arrived.

AP is the security guard at Target. I figure this out when I see his badges and black cop jacket. I am scared of him immediately. The manager briefs AP on the situation while I paw through all of my stuff again. I unfold the dress, in case my keys are bundled up in it. I even open my recipe box, in case my keys have decided they are embarrassed to be a part of this drama and are seeking refuge in the box. The keys are nowhere to be found.

I then start digging in my purse again, wordlessly proving to the Target Team how dedicated I am to finding my keys.
I dig around in it, and pull open all of the pockets in it even though I have already looked there when I was in the parking lot.

Well, any scientists that are reading this blog and looking to discover the mystery of the Black Hole in space need to investigate my purse also, since there must be an extension of the Black Hole in my purse. Because my keys have suddenly reappeared in the side pocket of my purse.

At this point I am too embarrassed to share this with the Target Team. I put all of my stuff back in my purse,
and trying to dig myself out of the hole I have created, I say to AP and the Target Team, "You know what? I'll call a ride, I have somewhere to be, if my keys turn up just hold onto them and I'll come back later." That probably would be the Target Team's worst nightmare.

AP foils my plan though, when in a voice so deep he makes Darth Vader sound like Minnie Mouse, he tells me to wait there. I debate what would be more embarrassing: getting arrested or kicked out of Target by AP, or admitting my error and leaving the store immediately.

I take everything out and lay it on the counter while the apologetic cash register lady looks on and tells me how AP has gone to pull up a picture of the customer after me to see if she is still in the store. I remove my wallet, cell phone, iPod, lip gloss and pen from my purse, leaving the purse empty. I flip it over and shake it. The keys fall out.

I fake my best surprised face and exclaim "THERE THEY ARE!" Now it is my turn to be the apologetic one. Luckily, the girl is very understanding. I grab everything that belongs to me and throw it in my Target bag. I race out of the store, praying AP doesn't catch me. They probably think I was trying to rob them or something, because you can't fake that kind of stupidity and why would anyone create so much drama for no reason?

I reach the safety of my car, hop in and flee the premises. On the way home, I decided I should wait at least two weeks before I go back in that store again, my picture is probably posted in the manager's office and burned permanently in AP's mind. Yikes.

Moral of the story: get a purse with less pockets.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Okay, pardon the pun on the title of this post. Of course I'm going to talk about American Idol, but to say that my life is idle right now is pretty accurate. Not for too much longer, hopefully.

So, I really could have made this post Monday night, before the competition even started for this week and the judges stole my thunder with their guesses of who would be leaving the show. Better late than never, I guess, so in efforts to continue my psychic streak, going home tonight from the girls will be Kinnik and Melissa. No doubt about it. If they call the bottom three though, I would put Ayla in there, which is a hard decision to make. Ayla is good, but I don't think she is as fantastic as the judges are making her out to be... if not Ayla then Lisa. For the guys, Kevin and Will are heading home. I think Kevin Federline Bucky will round out the bottom three.

In related news, I finally figured out who Paula Abdul reminds me of. Are you ready for this?

Michael Jackson!

Okay, not 100% of the time, but avid watchers of the show will recall last week when she humiliated herself and was reprimanded by Seacrest himself! He asked her why she thought these contestants were in the bottom two and she said "Because she ate pizza and she ate a salad!?" and then burst into giggles. She said something else stupid but I have blocked it from my mind so as not to decrease my IQ by watching American Idol. Doesn't that type of crazy, did-she-really-just-say-that? behavior remind you of another loopy has-been pop star? One that wore his pajamas as he held an umbrella and danced on the roof of a car on his way to court? Paula and Michael pick the most inopportune times to do/say the dumbest stuff.

Furthermore, they both seem to have a predilection for younger boys. Younger would be a relative term here, since young to Michael is 12 or 13, while young to Paula is 15 to 25. Those are the ones she cheers loudest for on the show... and NOT just this season: does the name Corey Clarke ring a bell? Kevin and Will better watch out. She already called Kevin a "sex symbol". Honestly, after the way she has been acting, I think a wedge of lettuce would turn Paula on. Drugs will mess you up, Paula! Look at Whitney Housten! Crack for your back? That's whack!

Personally, I would rather them remove her ability to comment/"judge" performances and give each contestant an extra 30 seconds to sing. It's not like what she says really makes a difference anyway. It's just babbling. "From beginning to end, you're a star!" "I've always been a huge fan of yours." "This competition wouldn't be the same without you." On their own, those are some nice praises. But when you praise every single contestant, even the ones who I know, Paula knows, even the CONTESTANT himself knows stunk it up and did a bad job, it doesn't matter! She is metaphorically casting pearls before swine. When we see that happening, we are left to conclude two things: 1. the pearls have lost their value 2. the pearl-tosser (Ms. Abdul) has lost her mind.

At the end of the day, Randy is really the only one of the three judges who should be a judge. He is the only one who can play an instrument and actually sing (No, what Paula did in the late 80s/early 90s doesn't count as singing. She was famous for dancing to music which happened to feature her voice).

In summation, I will leave you with the following quote, by Chris Rock. Paula Abdul judging a singing contest is like Christopher Reeve judging a dance contest (may he rest in peace)!

Monday, March 06, 2006


Today was such a good day. I have found hope in a few different areas of my life. I don't want to put my cart before my horse so I won't get too specific, but I will say that I think I have found a job opportunity I can sink my teeth into, and me offering that up for all to read is only because I covet your prayers. This job is in Nashville. I really want this to be a door opening, and the chance that it might be makes me really excited.

I am also hopeful that this mild cooking curiosity I've been experiencing will stick. In case it does, I bought an extremely cute apron yesterday. The way I see it, how the food tastes is half the battle. If I can look good while making it, a small victory has been won.

Speaking of fashion, how great were the Oscars last night? I took a quick nap during the red carpet coverage, but I understand that Isaac Mizrahi restrained himself from groping anyone. The dresses were really pretty, with the exception of Charlize Theron (want some dress with that bow?), Kiera Knightly (her dress wasn't that bad, it was the hair that ruined it for me) and Michelle Williams, who clearly didn't get the memo that pee yellow is NOT one of this spring's colors. Everyone else looked fantastic: Jennifer (both Aniston and Garner), Reese, Felicity, George Clooney... oh, to be famous and have someone else worry about your clothes/hair/makeup. I thought it was interesting that Dolly Parton was up for a musical award. If I were to nominate her for something, it'd be special/visual effects... all that plastic surgery should win an award for something. And 3 6 Mafia are now Oscar winners? When Eminem won a few years ago for "Lose Yourself", I didn't think it could get much worse. I stand corrected.

Today I was paid a compliment that I've never been paid before: I was told I am courageous. It was very encouraging. I am beginning to accept that I have no plan/list/agenda right now other than be still and listen to the Lord. If you know me, then you know it's hard for me to not be one step ahead of everything; and again, if you don't, why are you reading this?

Friday, March 03, 2006


Enough pussyfooting around.

The time has come for me to decide whether or not I want to stay in Birmingham. Four years ago, when I left this town for adventures on the plains, I thought a towtruck, commissioned by an act of congress, driven by Jesus Christ himself would not be able to drag me out of this town after graduation. I liked Birmingham. It was familiar, it was comfortable, and it had everything I needed.

Then, college happened. Doors opened and horizons expanded and in the process, I realized Birmingham, the city, was not what was familiar and comfortable. Instead, my family and friends and the traditions, memories and moments shared with them constitutes the familiar and comfortable. Additionally, my family has now been ripped in half and reduced by two. Four years later, now that everything has changed, and home is no longer the fortress I thought it was, I'm left stranded. And confused.

This pile of bricks and wood is a house, but it is not my home. I unknowingly bode goodbye to my home almost three years ago when I threw some boxes and clothes in my car and started my junior year in Auburn. That was the last time I ever felt really at home, since my dad moved out a week later. When he left, he took my home with him. The problem is that I can't find it again.

Which is why I'm confused. I don't know where I belong anymore. Birmingham is not the hotbed of comfort that it used to be. Too much has changed, including myself. Staying here would be convenient. I don't want to live a life based on convenience.

Therefore, true to my nature, I have made lists ("I make lists in my sleep, baby"). If you are reading this, then you must be my friend, and as my friend, I value your input. All readers are required to comment on this post, and suggest/advise me what I should do (and leave a little bit of encouragement, if you don't mind). I am pleading for your advice.

Pros about staying in Birmingham:
1. Majority of my family is here.
2. Some of my closest friends are here.
3. A few more months rent-free with mom.
4. I know my way around.
5. Lots of Auburn people!
6. Let's be honest... Taziki's and O'Carrs.
7. More contacts for getting a job.

Cons about staying in Birmingham:
1. A few more months rent-free with mom.
2. This city is boring.
3. My closest friends that are here are all married.
4. I'm tired of my mother borrowing my clothes.

Pros about moving to Nashville:
I've always wanted to.
2. My dad is there (in case of an emergency).
3. I could sing a lot more!
4. Famous people live there!
5. I have some friends (single and my age) that live there.
6. It's a fun city!
7. I would get to find a new church.
8. I would get to live with a best friend again this summer!

Cons about moving to Nashville:
1. Higher cost of living.
2. I know less people there.
3. For some reason, I feel that if I move I might miss out on something here in Alabama. But at the same time, If I don't move, I could miss out on something in Tennessee.
4. Finding a place to live for 1-2 months until the summer.

Like I said before, if you think you know me well enough, please leave me a comment and give me your input. I would value it. If you don't know me well enough... then why are you reading my blog?!?

PS: Please notice that I correctly predicted all 3 of the bottom vote getters for the women and 2 of the 3 of the boys on American Idol... 5 outta 6 ain't bad. Mabye I should take Paula's place, since it became clear last night that she's more interested in smoking marijuana than judging the show...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


For the first time since I graduated, I have actually been busy. It's remarkable. I forgot how rewarding it is to have a list of things to do (more than three a day) and check them off, one by one. It's good for the soul.

For starters, I visited my senior year roommate and her husband in Memphis this past weekend. The 4 hour drive went by remarkably fast since I was able to make fun of all of the town names between Birmingham and Tennessee. Rounding out the list of my personal favorites are: Glen Allen AL (not to be confused with Glen Ellen, the wine, but close enough), Gu-win AL (most signs spelled it Guin, but I guess all four of the people that live in Gu-win were worried about someone mispronouncing their town, as in "Gwen" or "Goo-i-in", hence mile signs now come with phonetic training), Brilliant AL (for the record, I didn't feel any smarter when I was in Brilliant) and finally, Myrtle, MS., because I can't think of a town that's name reeks of southern charm any more than that.

We had a great time catching up. They got married in June, and I was their first non-family guest! We ate out Friday night and then grilled out Saturday night. We were going to go downtown on Friday night, then put it off until Saturday. Then on Saturday night, after chicken kabobs and chocolate cake we were so stuffed and tired that we stayed in. I did get the grand tour of downtown Memphis (Beale Street) the next day after church. I was fascinated by Sun Studios and tried to decide if that was one of the places where they filmed Walk the Line on location (as opposed to a fake set). By the end of the weekend, I was calling them "Mom and Dad". In church Sunday, I was tempted to sign the Friendship Pad under the space by their name marked "children".

I must admit, I'm greatly enjoying getting to know all of my friends' husbands (and pets) and welcoming them as friends of my own. Especially after, as I have alluded to before, knowing their previous boyfriends. Not that those guys were all bad, but comparing exes with husbands, the husbands always win, and the reasons why become clearer the more I hang out with each couple. And as for my friends (plurality of that word is just me being generous) who are in the same boat as me (single), I greatly anticipate watching them meet, fall in love with and marry their husband also. I look forward to many double dates, tailgates, beach trips and even supper clubs with all of them.

In keeping with my week of productivity, and the theme of talking about married people, I had lunch yesterday with my newlywed friend who has just gotten back from her honeymoon. It was wonderful to see her and I can't wait to go visit her and her husband in their new house. I'm starting to refer to the guest rooms in my friends' houses as 'my room'... I don't think they mind.

Other things keeping me busy have included some calligraphy projects (something I'm learning to do), the eternal job search, exercising, experimenting in cooking and some light shopping. I made some WONDERFUL albeit fattening mini-molten chocolate cakes for my mom, sister and her roommate on Tuesday. Molten cakes are the ones with the fudge in the middle and it pours out when you cut into the cake. They were so cute and little and YUMMY. I impressed myself and decided that with those cute cakes, I have definitely upped my marry-me potential. Last night, I learned how to work the grill, further impressing myself. Now the possibilities are endless... I love grilled chicken, I could eat it for every meal. As for the shopping, I'm looking for a bulletin board framed in a big gold or silver or whitewashed frame. I can't find one in stores and am considering making one, which I don't imagine would be too hard, but at the same time I know I'm kidding myself. I put together my desk for my room last fall, so apparently I think I can build anything with the help of a power screwdriver... we'll see.

The one other thing that has been keeping me busy this week is my good friend, the television. I bought
Walk the Line Tuesday, so in addition to watching that, I've been tied up with the Bachelor and American Idol. I better give my take on those shows now, since a) one is over and b) the contestants on the other are dwindling fast.

As for the
Bachelor, I knew he'd pick Sarah all along. Nashville people stick together. True to Bachelor seasons of the past, the show is edited to leave you clueless about who will be chosen in the end. A lot is hidden. Therefore, when he kept referring to his and Sarah's "friendship", I knew they were holding back on us. I was really glad when he sent Moana on her way for a couple of reasons. First, Moana Stork just sounds stupid. Second, Moana IS stupid. Did you hear her in the limo afterward? "I just want to crawl back into my shell and hide…I’m so foolish and absolutely devastated." CHIN UP, Moana. You'll live. I think it needs to be said, however, that the Bachelor should be put out to pasture. It was in its prime circa-Andrew Firestone season, and now they are just grasping at straws. The LEAST they could do to spice it up would be to get a new host, change his script and score new music. I watched the first episode at my sister's apartment, and she and her roommate laughed at me because not only I was able to say Chris Harrison's lines for him ("Ladies, if you did not receive a rose tonight, take a moment... say goodbye."), but I also hummed the "Post-Rose Ceremony Blues" immediately afterward, just as it was cued up on the TV.

Now, on to my FAVORITE reality show,
American Idol! As a singer, this show is both depressing and fun to watch. Depressing because I know people who can out-sing some of the contestants on this show. It bothers me that they are soppping up the fame and there is plenty of undiscovered talent way better than them in the world. Contestants that fall into this category include Brenna, who I would like to punch in the face, or Kinnik, who actually has a good voice but sang a Gretchen Wilson song this week. She should be automatically eliminated on that reason alone. On the other hand, the show is fun because some of the contestants are really good. At least once or twice a week I find myself praising the contestants for singing something new on a chorus, verse, etc. It's the same rush a decorator gets when he/she sees a well-decorated room: it gives you ideas. Contestants that fall into this category include Katharine, Paris, Chris D, Ayla, Birminghams' own Taylor Hicks, and sometimes, Kellie Pickler. I liked her a lot in the beginning but her singing has not been up to par so far. I'm rooting for her to pick it back up though.

Last week I was three for four on guessing who was going home, but it was a very easy call to make last week. This week it's a little harder, but I'm going to go with Heather, Kinnik, David and Bucky (who I think is trying to pull a Kevin Federline look, and its not working). Alternates would be Brenna (don't get me wrong, I WANT her to go home, I just don't think she will yet) and Will (crooners never last long, but he's a little more likeable than David).

More funny stories are coming soon. I have to think of some good stories to wane satirical about. Comment if you have suggestions.

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