Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Top Five Celebrity Sit-Downs (Living Edition)

Every once in a while, as I'm scrolling through social media, someone will pose the question, "If you could sit and have a conversation with any famous person, who would it be?"  I can think of about 50 people on the spot who'd I like to talk with and get to know.  There are actors, authors, comedians, educators, and artists who all have expertise and/or qualities that I admire.  I thought that if I broke this down into many categories, I could list more people and not feel like I was cheating.  Here are the top five living celebrities that I'd love to meet .  Side note: This is an "in no particular order" list as I do not necessarily want to speak with one person more than another.

5. Tim Gunn - If you are unfamiliar with Tim Gunn, he is an artist, an author, a television personality, a fashion guru, and an all around wonderful person.  He is my Yoda.  I was first introduced to him by watching Project Runway.  He is the mentor for the designers on the show.  I fell in love with Tim Gunn right away!  While watching him mentor the designers, his sincerity and genuine care for them spoke to me.  As a teacher, I admire the way that he can be kind and critical at the same time and how the designers respect his feedback. As time has gone on, I have become a true blue Tim Gunn fan, reading all of his books and following all of his social media sites.  Some people who know me might think this is odd because I am probably one of the least fashionable people on this planet we call Earth, but it's not his fashion expertise that makes me love him so much.  It is the characteristics listed above as well as his vast knowledge of the arts and his fabulous vocabulary.   Okay, so technically, I HAVE met Tim Gunn. In 2012, he came to Austin for a promotional event.  KPT and I were able to meet him and take photos with him.  He is as sincere and kind in person as he is on television.  He spoke directly to KPT, who has a great interest in fashion and design, and answered her questions.  I mostly stood there and tried to keep myself together without turning into a blubbery mess.  We talked to him for about five minutes, but greedy me, that's not enough.  I want a real sit-down with the man.  I want to ask him 100 questions about his genius. Take notes.  And maybe get a little help with my fashion sense as a bonus.

4. Steve Martin - I tried to remember the first time I saw Steve Martin in something.  It was probably when he was the insolent waiter in The Muppet Movie (1979), but I was definitely too young to truly appreciate his genius.  It wasn't until I was an adolescent that I started catching his movies on television, edited versions of course since we didn't have cable.  Roxanne, All of Me, and Three Amigos were my favorites.  I got it.  This is a funny guy.  I like funny guys.  But then, when I was 15 years old, I saw L.A. Story.  If you haven't' seen it, it is a remarkable film.  It was a different funny than I was used to and I liked it!  I noticed that Steve Martin had written the script.  After that, I found out he'd written the scripts for other films too.   This guy writes?  Oh wow!  Then I read that he had studied Philosophy and English poetry in college.  He's a brainiac?  Oh my goodness!  When I became an adult, I started listening to and watching his stand-up.  Wait, what?  He's a musician too?? Oh merciful Heavens!  Here we are in the 21st century with a real, in living color Renaissance man!  The guy can do anything!  Needless to say, I am continually impressed by the mind and talent of Steve Martin.  I've read his novels, I own his albums, and I have seen all of his films.  This past year, I read Martin Short's autobiography, I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend and I learned that on top of everything else, Steve Martin is a good friend.  To be able to talk with him for awhile would be a dream come true.  I'd love to know what inspires him.  I want to sing a song while he plays his banjo.  Maybe he could give me my first banjo lesson while he's at it.

3. Mayim Bialik - From the time I was 13 to the time I was 18, I did not miss an episode of the television show Blossom.  In my mind, the show might as well have been written about me.  I was quirky, friendly, happy-go-lucky, and smart, just like her.  Because of Blossom, I owned about 20 different hats with giant flowers on the front and wore them to school regularly.  I went through my teenage years right alongside her.  This made me a fan of Mayim Bialik for life.  After the show ended, she went to college.  She went to college and earned a PhD in neuroscience!  She became a scientist!!  This woman is wicked smart!  She is now an author and is the founder of Grok Nation (www.groknation.com).  She speaks out for her beliefs, such as being an Orthodox Jew, veganism, and attachment parenting, She also takes a stand for people with mental health disorders.  It was a sweet surprise when Mayim Bialik showed up on The Big Bang Theory!  I couldn't have been more thrilled!  She definitely has not lost her acting chops and unlike many child actors, she didn't ever go down a dark path of life.  As a parent of a daughter who loves both science and acting, I wish there were more role models like Mayim Bialik for her to aspire to be like.  It would be an honor to sit and have a long talk with this exceptional lady.  There would be some fangirl moments, but mostly I'd want to talk with her about being a mom, being a scientist, and being a strong advocate for your beliefs. I just hope I could keep up.

2. Michael J. Fox - Through this post, it is becoming clear that I like to watch television, always have.  I promise that I did read books and I did play outside as a kid.  My childhood was well-rounded. (Thanks Mom!) That being said, another show that I never missed was Family Ties.  I was six years old when Michael J. Fox entered my life.  I didn't understand the complexities of a crush, but I knew that I thought he was so handsome.  Right up there with Christopher Reeve and his Superman curl.  To this day, I tell people that Alex P. Keaton was my first crush.  And if Alex P. Keaton was my first crush, then Marty McFly was my second.  Back to the Future is and will always be my favorite movie of all time.  But as much as I love Michael J. Fox for his talent and downright cuteness, it is his bravery that makes me want to speak with him.  When he announced in 1998 that he had Parkinson's Disease, my heart broke for him and for his family.  At the time, I knew very little about the disease.  Well, it took this diagnosis for me to get my research on.  I learned everything that I could about the disease, about its treatment, and about possible cures.  I became a supporter of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is trying to find a cure for Parkinson's Disease.  He has been very open about his journey fighting Parkinson's, especially in his books, Lucky Man and Always Looking Up.   His attitude remains positive and he can find humor in something that others could perceive as tragedy.  He stays strong. As a person who struggles with depression and anxiety, being brave is something that does not come easily for me.  I would like to speak with him in person about what keeps him going. I would really like to give him a giant hug.  Maybe if I do that, some of that bravery might rub off.

1. RuPaul Charles a.k.a RuPaul the Queen of All Drag Queens - I discovered RuPaul as an adult.  Before 1995, I don't think I even knew what a drag queen was.  Then I saw To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar when I was 19 years old.  The original draw to the movie for me was Patrick Swayze.  No self-respecting Texas girl missed a Patrick Swayze movie.  But, I digress.  To Wong Foo opened my eyes to the wonderful world of drag.  Ru did make an appearance in the movie, but I was too new to this world to know who she was.  For awhile the love of drag lay dormant inside me.  There was really no way for me to get a drag queen fix.  I was too naive to even know there was such a thing as a drag show, and I'm sure any copy of Paris is Burning that might have found its way into my rural Texas hometown had been set ablaze.  Enter 2009.  Logo aired the first season of RuPaul's Drag Race.  I was hooked!  Who is this RuPaul?  I have to know.  Again, it's time to get my research on.  I read everything I could find about her.  What an amazing creature indeed!  Yes, yes, I know she's a man in a dress, but this is only a small reason why I love and admire her.  When I started to dive in and learn more about RuPaul, it is her messages of positivity, of kindness, and of bravery that continues to inspire me.  2009 was also the year I divorced from my first husband.  I could use all the posivitiy I could get.  I have followed her on her Drag Race journey and have loved every minute of it!  In her books she talks about overcoming adversity and prejudice.  She advocates for acceptance, this includes accepting yourself.  She talks about never taking yourself too seriously.  Oh, how I wish I could sit and talk with RuPaul!  A life moment for me would be if I could get him to laugh.  If you've never heard his laugh, you're really missing out.  It's one of his most fabulous features.  More than getting him to laugh, I'd want to personally thank him.  Thank him for the laughter through tears many a night when I can't sleep. Thank him for teaching me to love myself and for being a daily inspiration in my life.  I want to listen to him tell stories, to give me a little tough love, and then to tell me, "Now , you better work," before he sends to sashay away.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top Five Reminders from One Encounter

It is 2014.  Instead of making a list of resolutions that I know I will not keep, I want to share this story and the five things that I was reminded because of it.

I went to Wal-Mart today.  I needed to get the oil changed in my car and I needed a few other things as well.  As usual, though Wal-Mart has about 30 checkout aisles, only four were open, so I knew I was going to have to wait.  No big deal.  Every open aisle had at least two people with loaded baskets.  Again, this only confirmed that I was going to have to wait.  The aisle I chose had a man checking out with his two sons.  I noticed them right away because he was buying a vacuum cleaner along with quite a few other items.  There was a man behind them, already looking rather impatient.  While I moved to the line, two more people lined up behind me, a woman and another man.  Neither one of them had more items than they could carry.  As I walked closer, I could see that the first man was in distress.  He had a lost look about him.  His eyes were red-rimmed and he looked completely defeated.  All of his items were bagged up and ready to take to the car when he realized that he couldn’t find his debit card.  He was looking for it and his two sons were looking for it.  No luck.  He was very apologetic and asked the cashier if he could just leave the basket full of items next to the register and run home to get his card.  The sweet cashier said that would be fine, but that she would have to void the sale.  I really felt for the guy.  His younger son, who looked about four, had some popcorn chicken in his hands.  Fortunately, the man was able to find enough cash to pay for the chicken so the kiddo wouldn’t have to give it back.  He and his sons moved to the side and this is when he dropped the bomb.  “I’m so sorry m’am,” he said to the cashier, “This normally doesn’t happen, but I just lost my wife.  I can’t seem to find anything now that she’s gone and I just don’t know what to do.”  His eyes started welling up with tears and his hands started shaking.  The man who had been waiting between this family and me began putting his items, including a fishing pole, on the conveyer belt, not even acknowledging what this poor man had just said.  He didn’t make eye contact or speak one word.  It was as he was getting ready to pay that the first gentleman shouted, “We found it!  We found it!”  He and his older son (who looked about fourteen) had found his debit card!  They didn’t have to run home.  “Can I pay for my things now?”  he asked the cashier.  She smiled and said, “You can, but you’ll have to go to the end of the line unless it’s ok with all of these people behind you.”  The woman behind me looked up and said, “WHAAAAAAAAT? What is happening?”  I explained to her that the man needed to get back in line so he could buy his things.  Indignant, she rolled her eyes, huffed, and stormed away.  I said, “It doesn’t matter to me sir.  Go ahead.  I can wait and I am so sorry to hear about your loss.”  It was then that the man began to talk as if he hadn’t had anyone to talk to in days.  He told me that he lost his wife three days after Christmas.  She wasn’t ill.  She’d had an aneurism.  She was fine one day and then was just gone.  They had been married for 33 years.  The older boy was his natural son and he and his wife had just adopted the younger son.  He said that she took care of everything.  The bills, the house, the kids, him.  He continually thanked me for allowing him to go ahead of me as he told me his story.  He kept saying, “I just don’t know what I’m going to do.   I just don’t know what I’m going to do.”   I listened.  I cried with him.  My heart broke for him.  I don’t even know his name.  Here are the five things that I was reminded by this encounter:

5.  Notice – The man in front of me, the one with the fishing pole, and the woman behind me were too wrapped up in being inconvenienced to notice that a man was hurting.  I will be a person who notices.  

4.  Listen – The man who lost his wife needed someone to listen.  His situation was not going to change, but he needed to say some things out loud.  I will be a person who listens.

3.  Pray – I told the man that tonight I would pray for him and his family.  I will pray for a comfort somewhere in all of his pain.  I believe that prayer makes a difference. I will be a person who prays.

2.  Love – While he was talking to me and the two of us were crying together, the gentleman said, “I tell myself that even though things are tough, I know that there are others who are hurting worse than me right now.”  There are people all around who are hurting.  I will be a person who shows compassion.  I will be a person who loves.

1.  Live – This man’s wife died quickly and with no warning.  This is a reminder that there is no promise of tomorrow.  With this in mind, I want to stop missing things.  I will be a person who lives.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Top Five Brave People I Know

This past week, I made the decision to go back to school.  If I pass the GRE and get accepted, I'll have a Master's of Library Science degree in two years.  I am feeling nervous and not very brave.  In honor of my cowardice, I look to the people in my life who show or have shown great courage.  Here are the top five:

5.  My friend John –He and I are from the same small Texas town.   After spending some time there after he graduated, he up and moved himself to New York City!  To leave everything behind that’s comfortable and known, and move so far away is admirable.  To me personally, it’s frightening.  Not only did he move to New York, but he did it to pursue his art, his dream.  In the nine years he’s been there, he consistently and persistently finds new ways to reinvent and express himself.  From my perspective, he is living his dream.  John is also a fighter.  Because he is gay, he faces hate and bigotry every day, but he doesn’t falter and continues to fight for what he believes is right.  He’s an educated advocate for himself and his wonderful husband.  This guy’s got guts, and I am proud that he calls me his friend.

4.  My boyfriend - William has set a course for making his life better.  On September 30th of last year, he smoked his last cigarette. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for him every day.  He says he’d kill anyone for a cigarette, but he still doesn’t smoke one.  He’s had many opportunities to sneak one when no one’s looking, but he still doesn’t smoke one.  And as much as it has to be a fight for him every day, he STILL doesn’t smoke one.  Also, he is losing weight.  Now, you won’t ever get me to say that he needs to change anything about himself.  I know he’s a sexy man.  This was his decision and he’s sticking to it.  He’s nine weeks in and doing well.  His determination to see through his goals takes courage that at first, I don’t think he even knew he had.

3.  My Laotong Jennifer – Jennifer currently works her (very sexy) booty off at not one, but two jobs.  Many times a week, she leaves one job to go straight to the other and doesn’t step foot at home until well into the night.  She’s given up weekends and pretty much free time altogether in the name of taking care of herself and her newlywed husband, who is chronically ill.  I know it’s hard for her, and I know sometimes she wants to give up, but she doesn’t.  There are many people in our American society who loudly and proudly wear their entitlement like a badge of honor, expecting things to be handed to them without an ounce of effort or contribution on their part.  The very things that our recent ancestors put sweat and tears in to providing for their families.  My laotong does the opposite, in a quiet, strong way that makes me love and respect her all the more. 

2. My daughter – My girl is a fireball.  She has more confidence and radiance than her little body can contain.  KPT has an exceptionally unique sense of style.  It’s difficult to explain without pictures.  She loves color and makes color combinations that I never would have thought to make.  She also loves accessories –jewelry, hats, gloves, handbags, and shoes.  She has kitty ears and mouse ears that make appearances as well a couple of pairs of fake glasses.  At quick glance, one might scoff at her styling, but looking at her again…the outfit always works.  And it suits her.  She is not afraid to express herself.  KPT is completely herself and doesn’t care what anyone else says or thinks about it.  I pray that she always has this strength of character and individuality as she gets older.

1.  My dad – For those of you from my generation, you’ll remember a TV show called The Greatest American Hero.  Even though my dad and that show don’t have anything in common (he never used an alien suit that gave him super powers….at least not to my knowledge), to me he has always been just that.  My Greatest American hero.  My dad was a police officer for over 30 years.  I watched him uniform up and hit the streets, knowing that it was his job to keep people safe.  When Daddy was not on duty at the police department, he volunteered for the local fire department.  Again, at all hours of the night, I would watch my dad suit up to go and keep people safe in a completely different way.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve heard stories about my dad’s bravery in both jobs.  His impact on our community exceeded beyond what I could have imagined.  I also have come in to a better understanding at just how often he put his life in danger to save others.   My dad is the bravest person I know.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Top Five Things I Have to Do at Disneyworld

Tomorrow, my mom, my daughter, and I are going to Disneyworld!  This deserves a woohoo.  WOOHOO!  I have been there once, but I don’t think it really counts.  I was on a high school band trip and we were allotted one day to spend at the park.  Needless to say, I didn’t see much.  This is my mom and my daughter’s first trip and we all have a list of attractions, rides, and experiences that are must-dos.  Here are my top five:

5.  Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – I am a roller coaster girl.  I’ve been riding them with my dad since I was tall enough.  Twists, falls, turns, loops-I love them all!  For the most part, there aren’t many roller coasters at Disneyworld.  This one looks amazing!  Not to mention that the whole time you’re on the ride, there’s Aerosmith music playing in the background.  That has to make it even more intense and exciting!   I’ve been going through roller coaster withdrawals pretty fierce since Astroworld shut down over six years ago.  I'm ready to feel the whooooooooosh of wind on my face and hear Steven Tyler wailing in my ears. 

4.  Pirates of the Caribbean – I wanted to ride this the last time I was in Florida, but I ran out of time.  It’s part of the classic Disney experience and I need to check it off my list.  This was way before Johnny Depp came on the scene as the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow in the movies.  I’ve read and heard that Captain Jack has now been made a part of this ride, which only make me want to ride it more than I did before.  He’s dreamy in a dirty, pirate-y sort of way.  Also, I hear that he hangs around in this area of the park, and I really want my picture taken with him.  Probably more than I want to ride the ride.

3.  Stitch’s Great EscapeLilo and Stitch is one of my favorite Disney animated films.  It’s the only movie I saw five times in the theater.  I know this is not considered by most people to be one of the classics, but I fell in love with Stitch the minute he uttered “Meega, nala kwishta!” and caused mass vomiting and disgust amongst the council.  Also, Lilo is an Elvis fan and the soundtrack is mostly Elvis music.  How could I not love that?  I think I’m endeared to the movie because both Lilo and Stitch don’t quite fit in.  They’re misfits.  They remind me of many of the students I have had over the years and of a few of my family members.  This attraction features an animatronics Stitch wreaking havoc on the audience.  I know I’m going to have a great time!

2.  Captain Eo – This is the Michael Jackson 3-D movie that was shown at Disney Parks in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Because of the controversies surrounding MJ in the 90’s, the movie was removed as an attraction.  After he died, as a tribute, Disney brought it back.  This IS one of the few things that I did get to do when I went to Disneyworld in 1992 and I loved it!  Some great people were involved in making this film, like George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, and James Horner.  I honestly can’t remember much of the plot, but I do remember that Anjelica Huston is in it.  I loved it because it was Michael Jackson singing and dancing.   Now, 20 years later, my daughter is a fan of Michael Jackson.  I’ve been playing his music for her since she was a little bitty girl.  I am looking forward to seeing the movie again with her and making a new memory.

1.  Meeting Cinderella – When I was a little girl, my mother read Cinderella to me night after night after night.  I had the Cinderella soundtrack on LP and would sing along with her pretending it was me with all my animal friends.  I flitted around my house humming “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.” Every time I had to do a chore, I hummed “Sing, Sweet Nightingale,” just like her.   All grown up, there is still a (very) tiny piece of me left that wants to believe in the fairy tale ending, even though I know better.  I know that Cinderella is a made up character and I know that her story is a fantasy.  Still, Disneyworld is supposed to be a magical place where dreams come true.  It won’t be the grown up meeting her at that moment.  It will be that little girl.  That’s when the magic will happen for me and I can’t wait.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Top Five Things I Love Because of Someone Else

A large part of who I am is the creation of my environment.  I find myself in a constant state of observing, learning from my observations, and acting upon them.  Also, the people who have come into my life have introduced me to some things that I have come to claim and love as mine.  Here are the top five:

 5.  Phineas and Ferb:  “There’s 104 days of summer vacation til school come along just to end it…..”  I heard these words for the first time the summer that KPT turned 5.  For those of you reading this who might not know, Phineas and Ferb is a clever cartoon that airs on the Disney Channel about two stepbrothers who use their summer days for way more than just playing video games and watching TV.  There’s also a subplot about their pet platypus that doubles as a secret agent.  This show is hilarious!  The characters are smart and there’s a silly sweetness to every episode.  There is homage to classic slapstick comedy, but also it’s more intelligent than say, another cartoon out there that involves a stupid yellow sponge man.  Before my daughter came around, I didn’t watch the Disney Channel.   Why would I?  I’m not the intended demographic.  Much of the programming on Disney “for kids” usually just makes me want to yack anyway.  Once a kiddo grows out of the preschool programming, the only things left for them to watch are the sitcoms featuring obnoxious teenagers and stupid parents.  When the preschool shows would stop airing for the day, I would make KPT change the channel.  When she was five, those shows were not appropriate for her.  BUT, then along comes Phineas and Ferb.  “No Mommy, we have to watch this,” she begged.  Since it was a cartoon, I was willing to give it a try.  Like I said before, this show is clever.  I read somewhere that the cartoon wasn’t even “created for kids, but just doesn’t exclude them as an audience” like some other animated programming (that mostly airs on FOX).  The guys who write this show HAVE TO BE my age.  So many of the references and running gags that pop up in the show are directed specifically at my generation.  Many times, I’m cackling at something that happens on the screen and my 8-year-old daughter is clueless.  I never would have found this show if it hadn’t been for KPT.  It’s something we can enjoy together and now, you will catch me watching episodes without her.  

4. New York City: Can someone love a city?  Yes.  Yes, they can.  In my last blog, I talked about how I am a Texas Girl to the core.  This stands true.  I want to throw that out that before I write anything else.  About two years ago, a very good friend of mine got engaged.  He and I go back to high school.  We lost touch, but were reconnected during my separation and divorce.  I am thankful for this reconnect, one of many that were made during that time.  He lives in New York City.  When I found out he was getting married (and I was invited), I knew I just HAD to go!  I had to go because he was my friend and I wanted to show my love and support for him.  This was a huge step that he was taking, but he was also taking a huge stand.  My friend is gay.  How could I not be there to stand behind him?  My boyfriend, William, was all in too!  We landed in New York in July of 2010 with no real plans other than the wedding and to see the city.  It surprised me how quickly I acclimated to my surroundings.  I was convinced that I would be scared and get lost, that New York was this giant, scary monster that ate small town Southern girls like me for breakfast.  It was quite the opposite.  Once I got used to the never ending stream of honks, the city started to sound more like music to me.  I had to resist the urge to spin around and start singing.  All the things that I heard in music and stories about the rhythm of New York became real.  We saw The Statue of Liberty, Grand Central, Times Square, Bryant Park, the Empire State Building, and the temporary 9/11 Museum just to name a few things.  The time that we spent there was magical.  William and I both fell in love with the city.  If my friend had never gotten married, I never would have made it to New York.  I want to go back.  I want to go back and stay for a long time.  Oh, and the wedding?  It was beautiful!  If you’d like to see a slide show of the pictures, click here.  (I'm in one of them.)

 3.  Coldplay:  Before 2008, I think I’d probably heard “Clocks” once.  Since the 90’s, I haven’t’ really listened to popular radio very consistently.  Through correspondence with my pen pal, he discovered that I didn’t really know about Coldplay, who they were, let alone their music.  He is a fan and wouldn’t stand for that.  He sent me a package of CD’s with music he thought I’d enjoy and of course, Coldplay was included.  It didn’t take me long to fall for Chris Martin’s vocals.  The song that spoke to me the most was “Fix You” because of the things that were happening in my life at the time.  Not too long after that, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends was released.   I downloaded the single and was given the album later that year as a gift.  Between the new and the old stuff, I had plenty to listen to and I was hooked.  They have a diverse sound because the style of each song on their CDs is different.  You’re haunted by one song and tapping your toes to the next.  Also, and most importantly, I listen to lyrics.  So much of what Coldplay sings reads like poetry, which I love.  I am no music critic, but I know what I like.  In 2009, William and I saw them in concert.  Even my heavy metal boyfriend enjoyed the show.  On my own, I wouldn’t have listened to Coldplay, but because of my pen pal, they have become a group that I love and will always hold a special place in the musical part of my heart.  

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (but mostly Spike):  When William and I were still in the friendship stage of our relationship, it didn’t take long for him to reveal that he is a Buffy fan.  I remembered Buffy.  Vaguely.  It started airing right after I turned 21.  I was a junior in college and didn’t really give it much thought, even though in retrospect, I’m not sure why.  When William and I started dating, he suggested that we start watching the show together. I’m willing to give most things a try, plus if I liked it, it would give us something in common, something to talk about.  We started watching the first season and I stayed curious.  Buffy got on my nerves with her whiny teenager angst, but I immediately fell in love with her best friends Willow and Xander.  I liked the wit of the dialogue because it reminded me of Firefly, another show that I enjoy and my introduction to Joss Whedon.   Also, the “whole team of misfits saves the day” idea has always been one of my favorites (take The Goonies, for example).  It didn’t take me long to get attached to the characters and then into season two we went.  Hello, Spike.  Hello, Lover.  Oh my goodness!  James Marsters with his dreamy hair and dreamy gait and dreamy voice and dreamy accent and….well, you get it.  Along with the introduction of Spike, I started getting into the plotlines and falling more and more in love with the characters.  The more I watched, the more I saw into Whedon’s genius.  I love this show!  It took William and me less than a year to make it through the entire series.  By the end of season seven, I felt like I was saying goodbye to old friends.  Now, I’d say that Buffy is my favorite TV show and I never would have watched a single episode if it hadn’t been for William.

1. Elvis Presley:  The King of Rock and Roll.  The most beautiful man God ever made.  My greatest obsession.  I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love Elvis.  When I was a little girl, I wanted to be just like my mama.  She loved Elvis and I asked her if I could have some of her old Elvis 45’s (look it up youngins) to listen to in my room.  The one that I loved the most and that I played the most had “Kentucky Rain” on one side and “An American Trilogy” on the flip side.  I played that little record until it was worn with scratches, singing at the top of my lungs, “….with the rain in my shooooooooooessss, searchin for yooooooooooouuuu.”  The velvet in his voice, even in his older age was enough to pull me in after the first listen.  Also, Mama would let me watch Elvis movies with her when they came on tv.  Blue Hawaii was my favorite then, even though it’s not my favorite now.  My mama also had this book.  It was called The Elvis Presley Scrapbook.  When I was a kid, she kept this book on a shelf in our laundry/family room.  I would climb on top of the washing machine to get this book and read it over and over and over and over.  I read about the poor little boy from Tupelo, Mississippi and about his famous start at Sun Records.  I read about the Colonel, the Jordanaires, how much he loved his mama, Priscilla, and Lisa Marie.  I wanted to know everything.  I wanted to hear everything.  I wanted to see everything.  I have taken my love for Elvis to the extreme.  His pictures are everywhere in my classroom.  His music fills my iPod.  I put in his concerts and movies to watch when I’m feeling blue.  I love Elvis and it’s because of my mama, and my love for her, that I do.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Top Five New Year's Resolutions for 2012

I am writing mostly to keep myself accountable and also because it's one of my resolutions. You will notice that there is nothing mentioned here about exercising more or eating better.  That is so not who I am.  If I'm not successful this year with keeping these goals, I will be okay with that.  That also means, I will get cake.

5. This Blog - Please see previous blog for more detail on this resolution. 

4.  A Picture a Day - I totally swiped this idea from a friend of mine who is a photographer.  She took one picture (probably more) every day of her life for a year.  I love this idea!  Anyone who knows me knows that one of my hobbies is taking pictures.  I wouldn't say I'm a great photographer, but I've been told that I have a good eye.  I have a friend who is patiently sharing his knowledge about photography with me and I think I'm getting better.  Whether any of that is true or not, it is something I love.  So, I have decided to chronicle this year in 366 pictures.  The pictures are all posted in an album on my Facebook page.  My goal is to capture more than just people (my favorite subjects), but also the bits and pieces that make my life unique.  My life's gotta be unique, right?  I wonder what my story will look like when I'm done.  I'm hoping it's not a giant snore fest.

3.  Be a Better Pen Pal - That's right.  I have a pen pal.  The genuine article.  Remember those?  The kind where you send actual hand-written letters in the mail to someone far, far away and then that person writes back actual hand-written letters?  My pen pal is fabulous and we have a great story.  One that I'm not going to share here.  He lives in England and we've never met face to face, BUT we have been writing letters for almost four years.  In the past, I have been more diligent about writing letters to him, but lately, my letters have decreased in number and I don't like that.  Because of the time difference, it's a bear to try to find the time to talk.  Our letters and some brief instant messages are what keep us up-to-date.  It's time I make the time to write more consistently.

2.  See More of Texas - I am a Texas Girl to the core.  I was born here, lived here all my life, and I want to die here...someday.  I love road trips and prefer them to riding in an airplane.  I am a sucker for historical markers, old graveyards, and side-of-the-road-holes-in-the-wall (those are real).  I am definitely going to need some help with this one because I have an untrustworthy car and I really don't like to drive.  My boyfriend though, has a very trustworthy car and he loves to drive.  I'm hoping that he and I and the kids can take some weekend trips this year to see the state.  There's plenty of ground to cover, so I know we won't run out of places to see.  The biggest obstacle to this resolution is time.  Everyone is busy, especially our kids.  Good Heavens those two stay busy.  The second obstacle would be the cost.  I think we know enough people scattered around the state that we might be able to find places to crash, but there's the cost of gasoline to think about.  Not to mention shopping for souvenirs at all those historical markers and side-of-the-road-holes-in-the-wall. 

1.  Make a Difference - I know that sounds cheesy and is a cliche, but it's what I want to do this year more than anything else.  I am not wealthy, so I can't give money to charity.  I'm not powerful, so I don't touch things on a global scale.  I'm not highly influential, so crowds of people don't hush when I speak.  But I do have a circle of family, friends, and students that are within my reach.  I hope that this year in at least one person's life, I make a difference for the better.  It's my way of saying thank you for the overwhelming amount of blessings and supports that have been given to me.

Bring on 2012, but only one day at a time.  Okay?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Top Five Reasons I'm Starting this Blog

5. John Cusack - When I was 24 years old, I saw the movie High Fidelity, starring John Cusack.  I have had a long standing crush on John Cusack since the 80's.  It's the face, the voice, the delivery, and Lloyd Dobler.  >SIGH<  Lloyd Dobler.  Anyway, without going into lots of detail about the greatness of this film, a part of  what pushes along the plot is his character, Rob, making lists of top fives in his life as he discovers that he is turning into an adult.  This is genius.  Ever since seeing the film, I have been creating lists of top fives in my head.  It's a way to simplify the most complicated emotions or situations I might be facing.  I lay it out in a top five.
4.  2012 - This is one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2012.  Yes, yes, I know, New Year's Resolutions are mostly bunk.  We start out the new year with great ideas about changes or actions we are going to make and two weeks later, life continues as normal.  Then we all feel like failures and eat a whole cake by ourselves.  Or maybe that's just me. Anyway, with that said, it's time I join the 21st century.  We are the people of the future and the people of the future blog to communicate.  At least that's what I've heard.  This is my way of embracing it.  Let's see how long it lasts.  Someone check this blog in February to see if I've written any updates and someone please check on me to see if I've eaten that whole cake.
3.  Making Connections - I refuse to believe that this world is as bad as the 6 o'clock news would have everyone think.  I love to meet new people and genuinely believe that most people in this world have a propensity for good.  I think we were made to connect with each other and to love.  I hope that this blog will open doors for me to meet new people from everywhere.  I am not starting this blog for people to judge me though.  I say what's in my head mostly as a way to work things out, and hoping someone can relate to what I feel or think.  If you are reading this just because you are one of those trolls who likes saying mean things to people for the sake of being mean, go away.  Mean people suck and you're not the kind of connection I am starting this for.
2.  It's Good for Me - I have had to move a few times in the past few years.  Every time I move, I have tried to lessen the amount of stuff that I own.  Storage is a luxury and it's dad gum expensive too.  I say that to say, that in going through my things I have found journals that I kept as a kid and as a teenager.  Writing is an outlet for me.  It always has been.  It's a non-threatening way to make external what is internal.  Reading my old journals is a pleasure and is at other times painful because I am given the key to see into a me I might have forgotten.  But, I also see that writing things down is good for me.  It's therapy without the hit on the wallet.  And these days, who needs another hit on the wallet?
1. Curiosity - My number one reason to start this blog at the beginning of 2012 is plain curiosity.  I know it killed the cat, but I'm willing to take the risk.  If I keep up with my blog, I'll have chronicled a year in my life and all the crazy, random things that pop in my head along the way.  I've seen what can happen in a year and I am curious to see what this one will bring. The difference this year though, is that I'm inviting you to come with me.  Now....who wants cake?