Little Hopes

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blogger just informed me that this will be my 100th post on this blog. I guess it seems fitting, then, that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and the time of year we all like to reflect on the many things we are thankful for. And here's how I feel --

Life is hard. It's hard on everyone for lots and lots of different reasons. Those of us who can name 1,001 things about our lives that are wonderful feel even more guilty when we're still struggling with anxiety or depression. Sometimes I'm so tired that I can feel it in my bones. Sometimes I feel like people ask me so many questions and I just can't take it anymore. Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing with my life and what the future holds. But the thing I'm most thankful for today is that, even though all those things are true, I can think of several things that I'm very thankful for that occurred recently. I believe that's called hope.

Hope does not disappoint. Hope is the strongest magic of all. A whole stack of memories never equal one little hope.

My little hopes of late:

Sunlight streaming through window just so...

Beautiful billboards for The Nutcracker, which is the most painful, exhausting, stressful, horrible, epic, best experience of the year...

Happening upon the perfect pink dress by chance and finding out the dress was designed by a couture label as their reinvention of Sleeping Beauty. I'd get married in this dress...

And speaking of princesses -- reminders from Story at just the right moments that I'm magic and Snow White...

When I'm going about my business around the house and look over and see a rabbit giving himself a bath. A rabbit just hops around here all day long. This is my life...

Putting down your Little Debbie Cakes a split second before you take a bite because you realize it looks like Clayface from Batman...

Watching the Mountaineers with my little brother and remembering how lucky we are he's here at all...

My seven little moments of light of late. And moments of light are a major reason to be thankful.

7QTF: On Louie DePalma, Mail and a Very Loved Rabbit

Friday, November 22, 2013

Joining up with Jen, as per Friday usual!

1. When you read "per usual" is it in Danny DeVito's voice? Danny DeVito in his role as Louie DePalma on Taxi, one of the greatest shows ever made. You either know what I'm talking about or you don't. You don't? Ugh. Fine. Minute 5:58 here. Thankyouverymuch.

2. I cut the inside of my lip the other day with my tooth, which I smacked on a Miller Lite bottle. I was beginning to take a drink as I spotted the world's LARGEST cricket just staring at me. Silently mocking me. And just moments ago I cut the roof of my mouth on a fun size Baby Ruth. Do other people have these types of problems?

3. Did you watch the Gilmore Girls? I did. I still do. It was a sad, sad day when that show went off the air. I loved Lorelai. (Who didn't?) I had to answer on a quiz once if I would compare myself to any character on television who would it be (this was pre-Once Upon a Time, FYI), and I said Lorelai Gilmore. She had this thing where she only looked through her mail once a month. She said if she looked through it every day all she got was junk and bills, but if she let it pile up she got cards and actual letters from people, making the experience far more enjoyable. I think I'm getting there. I live in a garage apartment, so my mail is delivered through a mail slot to my front door. My front door leads directly up a flight of stairs into my apartment, so that mail just lands there on the bottom of the stairs. When I get home at night, I look down and all I ever see are circulars, junk mail and bills. Boo. So, as generally neat as I am, I sometimes just let the mail pile up.

4. While I live in a city of almost 50,000 people (I understand it's not a metropolis but not a small town by any means), what I love is the sense of community. The local high school, Huntington High, was 10-0 in its regular season of football and is now still fighting to be state football champion. Around town there are various pizza places, gas stations and other places that have changed their lettered marquees to read "Good Luck Highlanders" or "Way to Go Huntington High." It's so small-town, I know, and I just love it.

5. I wrote this post yesterday on books from my childhood, and now I want to throw all my weekend plans out the window, go to the library, grab up all the kids' books I love and spend all weekend at home on the couch reading. And maybe I will. We gave our kids this Sunday off from Nutcracker rehearsal to rest (wish we could give them next Sunday after Thanksgiving, but it's too close to our show and we need the time) so I have a Saturday AND a Sunday free for the first time since Labor Day weekend. And I think I spent that weekend in Morgantown visiting my grandparents and watching football. So, really, the last time I had a whole weekend free to do whatever I wished at home was sometime in the summer. I do have to run some errands Saturday and get some show-related things done, but maybe I'll find some time to squeeze in a re-read of a Nancy Drew or Baby-Sitters Club book.

6. Sometimes I like to pick up Snicks and hold him for a bit. He doesn't love it, but I don't do it for him. I also love to bury my hands in his soft fur. I don't have great hands -- they are usually painful and hard from my cuticle-picking obsession -- and that's the only thing that makes them feel better. I am not the world's most wonderful person, but I hope that God may consider taking a day or two off my time in Purgatory because of how much I loved and cared for Baby Snicks, one of His littlest and most helpless creations.

7. This article. This article right here. I know I'm not a parent, so maybe I don't get a say, but I am around kids of all ages a LOT because of the dance studio, and I think this is one of the most accurate things I have read in a long time. A couple of years ago I may have been shocked that there were kids in the world who brought parents along for job interviews, but I have seen and heard some things over the past few years that make this scenario far less surprising. And I have good, hard-working kids for the most part. But I look around and think -- raising kids in this day and age would be SCARY. I don't know how you all do it. Ten years ago I would have never said this -- and honestly as a kid I probably thought all homeschooled kids were weird -- but if I had a kid today and the ability, I really think I'd homeschool. I'm not a doomsday theorist and I don't think the world is going to hell in a handbasket (although I do think we have SERIOUS problems that seem to be getting worse) but I really think there is something to the theory that we are raising a generation of helpless whiners.

And on that super uplifting note, I'm outtie 3000. Go see Jennifer.

Ramona Quimby, Nancy Drew, Anne Shirley and Me

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A girl I knew in college posted on Facebook today that she was grateful to enjoy reading now that someone had turned her on to Twilight and she realized how much she loves reading. Now, I am not here to judge what people are reading. In fact, I find that SUPER annoying. Who cares if I'm not reading a great work of litrachure (as the English say) as long as I'm reading? I read the Twilight series, I won't lie. I enjoyed it. It kept my attention.

What caught my eye with this post is that she didn't start loving to read until she read Twilight. That only came out a few years ago. So for the majority of her life...... she didn't love reading?

That concept is so foreign to me. My mother loved to read and she read to us. Every day. Every night. We spent our summer vacations at the library going through stacks of books. I can't imagine a childhood where I didn't read.

The first chapter book I ever read was Ramona the Brave. The book cover was maroon with Ramona hiding under the covers, and the pages were worn with my years and years of re-reading it. Oh Ramona Quimby. I loved Ramona. I wanted to be Ramona. Who was in first grade in 1991 who DIDN'T want to be Ramona? I read all of Beverly Cleary's books about Ramona, and the ones about Ellen Tebbits too. She took ballet. I couldn't imagine a life without Ramona.

And what about The Secret Garden? Oh Mary. What a life she lead. My sister Erin and I loved Secret Garden. We spent hours with Mary and Dickon as they tended the garden. We also used to rent the movie from the video store as often as we could. Not too long ago I was in my friend Sarah's backyard and she was showing me some greenery she had been cutting down from her back fence. I said "It looks like the Secret Garden!" And Sarah said "I thought that too!" Sarah, a bosom friend as Anne Shirley would say. And speaking of...

...Could you imagine a life without Anne of Green Gables? No adventures of Anne-with-an-e Shirley? No summers spent in the warm breeze in Avonlea?

The Phantom Tollbooth. Half Magic. The Baby-Sitters Club. Nancy Drew. The Boxcar Children. CAN YOU IMAGINE BEING 9 AND NEVER HAVING SOLVED A MYSTERY WITH HENRY, JESSIE, VIOLET AND BENNY? 

How magical the written word is can't be put into words. Ironic, isn't it? Books are the answer to what makes a childhood magic.

Now I'm desperate to go find a copy of Nancy Drew and the Clue of the Tapping Heels.

Seven Quick Takes Friday: On Opossums, Cary Grant and Saying My Name

Friday, November 15, 2013

It's Seven Quick Takes Friday with Jen!

1. So... that noise I was hearing last Friday? It has reached epic proportions. Epic as in, there is something up there, and it's BIG. It's been so loud all week. Every night, around 7:30 or 8, I start hearing loud noises up in the ceiling and a lot of rustling around. Things reached their climax last night, my favorite night of the week, Thursday. I came home from dance as I always do, Sheetz nachos in hand, around 7:30. As I was changing out of my leotard and into my pajamas I heard this huge noise from the living room. I ran in there (not sure what my plan was since I was, well, de-clothed and un-armed, and saw this:

Yeah. That's my ceiling tile having been pushed down by whatever wild animal is currently housing itself up there. Needless to say, I took my nachos, my dance studio work, my laptop, my rabbit and his food and barricaded myself in my room. My landlord (who is a friend) got an exterminator over today. The exterminator said he thinks it's either a raccoon (fabulous) or an opossum (even better). He believes it is getting in through the garage (I live in a garage apartment) and somehow making its way up to my ceiling. He thinks it goes out and about during the day, then returns to my home (where it's warm) to spend the night. (So... really... this opossum and I are on the same time schedule.) The thing is -- I'm not a baby by any means, but I'm really sort of over it. I feel like I'm under siege in my own home. Even more upsetting for me is I'm worried about Snickers. He's a small bunny and has literally NO way to defend himself. Today I made the decision to shut him in the spare room that houses his litterbox, water and food with the hopes that if the animal got in the living room, he'd be protected behind the bedroom door. However, I then started worrying that instead of locking the intruder OUT I may have locked Snicks in, basically turning the spare room into the arena from the Hunger Games. And I love Snicks, but dude, he's the tribute who dies in the cornucopia in the first 30 seconds of the games. He just is.

2. You know that system where you do something you don't want to do and then you get rewarded for it? I believe most people refer to it as a "bribe." Well, I had to bribe myself to do my laundry tonight. You may recall that I. HATE. LAUNDRY. I ran some water on a beer glass and put it in the freezer before I did the chores I like, dusting and vacuuming, and told myself I could drink this cold beer ONLY if I did my dang laundry. Parents of little ones, bribes STILL work when you're 29!

3. As I was vacuuming my living room, I suddenly got that Destiny's Child song "Say My Name" in my head. I have NO idea why that jem popped up (incidentally, I guess that's spelled "gem," but I wrote "jem" because, hey, so outrageous!) because I haven't heard that song in yearssssss. I started singing it and quickly found out I remembered all the words. All. Also, that video? Baller.

4. You know what one of the absolute best things in the world to hear ever is? The music at the very beginning of an old movie right when the MGM or Warner Brothers or Columbia Pictures logo is on the screen. It's a melody that says you're about to be transported to another time where the men are dashing and the women are so classy. You know what I'm talking about:


In the event you were going to stick your curling wand in your eye, please don't.

6. My sister Erin just found and posted this on Facebook, and, well. Just click. Click and hover your mouse over all the foods. Pay particular attention to the yellow frosted donut (my fav)... you'll be glad you did!

7. Do you have one of those friends who is always doing something generous and kind for you, but for whom you feel like you never really get to do anything nice? My friend Sarah is that friend. I have been the beneficiary of her generosity so many times from big things like trips to Keeneland to things like coffee. Well, Sarah's birthday was earlier this week so today we went to lunch and I got her a little gift, and although it wasn't much, it made me feel really good to finally be able to do something for her.

7a. Today is my dad's birthday. So a very happy birthday to the person in my life who ensures I always have a working washing machine, a clean car, no flat tires and that I'm never in want of a ceiling fan. He taught me to pump gas, drive a car, change a flat, check tire pressure, how a water pressure tank works, how to sew a button, to love the mass and a million other things!

Go see Jen for more fun!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The other day my sister Erin and I were discussing, for whatever reason, what age we were when we started being responsible for bathing ourselves. Honestly, I could not remember. The closest thing I could remember is a very specific incident where I remember bathing my sister Emma, and she was most definitely 7. Now, it may have been one of those cases where it was my role to supervise and help her wash her hair, I don't know, but I definitely remember drying her off. I remember because she asked me a really profound question, surrounding a really difficult circumstance my family was facing at the time, and that is why I so clearly remember what we were doing and how old we were.

Emma used to have this long, curly hair. I remember, after washing it that night, I combed it out for her. As I remembered, I could almost smell the shampoo -- it came in a little bottle with a big animal eye on it and smelled like strawberries. And it made me wonder: when I helped Emma comb her hair for the last time, did I know it was going to be the last time?

I should probably note that I am the oldest of five kids. There's me then my sister Erin who's 2 years younger than me, then Alex who is 5 years younger, then Thomas who is 7 years younger, then Emma who is 10 years younger. So I spent a lot of my younger life helping out with little kids. I helped with baths and meals and diaper changes. And I know that some of the time I did resent it.  Not most of the time, but some of the time.

When my mom used to serve dinner, she'd always prepare the plates of the youngest kids first, so she could place in them in the fridge to cool off so the little ones wouldn't burn their tongues. I reminded my mom of that not too long ago, and it made her smile. I wonder when that last dinner was that we did that for Emma? Did we consciously decide we weren't going to do it anymore? Or did we just stop one day? Was it just a nondescript Tuesday evening when I placed Emma's meal of pasta and vegetables in the fridge for the last time? When I changed Emma's last diaper, was I aware it was the last time? What about when I held her hand to take her to the bathroom at a restaurant?

This past summer I was at an outdoor movie downtown and needed to use the bathroom. When I entered, I saw an older girl, maybe 12, with an exasperated look leaning on a stall door. I could hear a little girl's voice from inside the stall. I smiled at the older girl and said "One day they become old enough to take themselves to the bathroom" and she smiled. Did I walk Emma to the bathroom at a McDonald's for the 437th time not realizing I would never do that again?

Things were definitely not perfect in or with my family growing up, but sometimes I really think I'd give anything to go back for one day. One day when I'm 12 and Erin is 10 and Alex is 7 and Thomas is 5 and Emma is 2. It's 1996 and we're all at our old house on Young Court. I'm pushing Emma on a swing and we're all playing outside in the backyard.

But then I remember... it's 2013, and I'm 29. And Emma is 19, a sophomore in college and able to push herself on a swing. Things change so quickly, don't they? We didn't know. We didn't know it would be the last time cooling off the kids' food in the fridge. We didn't know that was the last time Emma would need supervision in the bathroom or someone to comb her tangles. It's probably best that we didn't know or I'd probably still be combing Emma's hair right now.

This is us at Christmas 2011. I have no idea where last year's Christmas photo is. Shows you how often we take pictures together. 


Friday, November 8, 2013

Linking up with Jen today!

1. There is something in my ceiling. Like an animal. I have been known to get mice from time to time, and for a while I thought it was a mouse. Now I'm not so sure. I mean, maybe it is still a mouse, but I think it's something much larger, like a squirrel or maybe a bird? No, it's something heavier than a bird, so a squirrel? Oh God, I don't know what it is, but I'm trying to play out scenarios in my head to determine what I'm going to do when a raccoon falls out of my ceiling. :/ This is happening as we speak.

2. I made the comment to someone yesterday that Snicks likes to lay under the bed "in his free time." Am I kidding? Does this look like the face of someone who has anything but free time?

Something pressing on his schedule?

3. Remember those flowers? Well here they are now:

Yep. Right on schedule.

4. On KLOVE they are doing a "Home for the Holidays" contest. People write in and talk about a person with whom they'd like to spend the holidays, someone they haven't seen in a long time. Everyone whose story makes it on the air gets a CD, and some people will actually win flights to see that person for the holidays. It's so nice. I thought about who I'd want to see for the holidays if I wrote in, and then I realized: no one. Everyone that I'd want to see at the holidays, I get to see. And I can't say how fortunate that made me feel.

5. The time change has really affected Snicks. He likes to sleep under my bed, and around 10 p.m. nightly he runs in there and lays down. If I'm not home, he still does it. However, since last Sunday, it's been 11 p.m. Like clockwork. He obviously can't open a door (newsflash) so I leave the door cracked a bit open for him. At 11 p.m. he BUSTS in. I think he likes to assert his independence. It's a routine: I get it bed around 10/10:30, he busts the door open at 11, I get out of bed and shut the door.

6. If I hear even three seconds of that Justin Timberlake song "TKO" it is in my head for days. The thing is, I don't know the words. How is that even possible? It's an endless loop in my head: TKOOO, TKOOOOO, TKOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

7. Hypothetically, if a raccoon, opossum and/or squirrel came through your ceiling and ended up on your living room floor, what would you do? Hypothetically of course.

Go see Jen for more. I have to sit here and stare at my ceiling holding a broom. Ugh.

Golden Grahams and Apple Jacks

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I pulled a reusable water bottle out of my cupboard today and put some water in it to take to mine and Sarah's 7:30 yoga class. I don't think I can describe in words how proud I was of myself. I think it was the biggest, most responsible accomplishment of my day; I was, for once, one of those people who took a reusable bottle of water to yoga class. Holla.

I've talked before about my issues quieting my mind during, well, anything really, but specifically shavasana. Tonight, it was Golden Grahams. Yep, the cereal. I was thinking maybe I wanted cereal to eat when I got home, and suddenly I started thinking about Golden Grahams and could not stop. I have not had a Golden Graham in ages. I certainly do not have them at home. I ate Apple Jacks instead, but, man, Golden Grahams, those would have been tasss-ty.

This may be biased, I don't know, but I think Baby Snicks is THE CUTEST rabbit/animal/thing in general of all. time. That may be a bold claim, but you just see what you think:

Yep. You just want to pet his little head and rub his little ears! That lives in my house. Eeep!

no MD

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I got home from work today around 4:30 and I was pretty hungry. I thought about eating cereal but then I was like waitttttttttttttttttttttt what if I want grilled cheese later? Will that be weird? Then I thought FORGET THIS! This is America...I can eat this cereal and then, later, if I want a grilled cheese, I can have that too. So that is what I did. I ate Fruit Loops and then a couple hours later ate my grilled cheese. And pie.

This is how I define living on the edge for sure.

I tore myself away from Revenge of the Bridesmaids (it was tough) to watch something else on Netflix. I chose Emily Owens, MD. (Incidentally, one girl from Revenge of the Bridesmaids is actually on Emily Owens, MD... and there was an episode where another of the girls guest starred. No lie. Heehee.) I had watched a couple episodes when it was actually on TV and thought it was really cute, and then they cancelled it,which was sad. At any rate, I think I like it so much because I am Emily Owens, no MD. She is neurotic and awkward and really, really weird. If you've seen it, you know exactly what I'm talking about. She lives all up inside her head and overthinks everything. It's so, so, so me. Which makes me sad that they're not making any more new episodes. Boo.

I've been needing new toothpaste for a while. I've been squeezing the death out of my current tube -- you know what I mean. I always, always, always get Crest. I swear by it. It's what my mom always got us growing up. At any rate, I was looking all all the kinds today (Scope! ProHealth! Whitening! Reverse gingivitis!) and I thought -- today is the day I try something new! I considered all my options and finally decided: whitening plus Scope! Perfect. Yeah I just brushed my teeth and realized my "new" toothpaste is just my old toothpaste in a new package. Predictable Patty right here.

And that's it. That's it for today.

Seven Quick Takes Friday: Saturday Edition!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Joining Jen and the gang... a day late and a dollar short!

1. I had this truly horrible experience with Comcast this past week, which resulted in me not having TV for about five days. I have to say, after not having the TV on that long, being in the silence and not catching up with any shows........... I really like TV. Haha. Did you think I was going to say I really realized how much nicer the quiet is or that I should be reading more? Please.

2. While my TV was out my sister gave me her Netflix password so I could have something to watch. Apparently I could create my own profile, which I did. Then I realized, however, that Netflix will notify Erin (or she'll just be able to see) that all I watched (literally, ALL) was Revenge of the Bridesmaids. Over and over. I LOVE that movie.

3. My friend Sarah was telling me the other day that she has really gotten into this TV show "Reign." This is the kind of thing we love -- it's just straight up trash TV. I hadn't gotten to see it (no TV, remember?) but I caught up this afternoon and watched the three episodes that have been on thus far. IT IS SO GOOD. It is basically just Gossip Girl with different clothes. It's a must-watch!

4. People really like to see photos of Snicks. I mean, they just do. He's really, really cute. Sometimes I'm asked if I ever take any video of him, and the answer is always no. You never know what he's going to do or when he's going to do it, he doesn't do tricks and really, he doesn't do anything. Proof in point -- this is pretty much what he does:

5. Last weekend I took some of my ballet students to a dance intensive weekend where they took classes in ballet, pointe, hip hop, jazz, contemporary, musical theater and modern. We had such a good time. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the weekend:

That blur is Story!

So... the room didn't have a lot of room for viewing, so I took a bunch of photos through the blinds outside like a creepy Cathy.

This was my favorite class of the weekend: my oldest kids' contemporary hip hop class.

These are some of my oldest girls in ballet.

6. Excuse the world's shoddiest photo, but have you tried Jamberry nails? I wouldn't call myself a fad girl, but I'd seen a lot of people on Facebook raving about them. My friend Tricia is a consultant and did a fundraiser for the studio last spring. I am HOOKED. They are basically stickers you heat up with a hair dryer and put on your nails. They are "nail polish" but 100 times better because they don't chip AND they stay on for several weeks! I went back to polish for a few weeks this fall because I needed new Jamberry but kept putting off buying, then I found some old ones. I still had enough to do a manicure, so I did. I am impressed all over again! So much easier than polish and stays on SO much longer. They have so many colors and designs. Also, I'm the kind of person that can't even stand life with one chipped nail (OCD, much?) so these are perfect! You take them off by blasting them with a hair dryer and peeling them off!

*I'm not getting anything for saying this or linking to Tricia. I REALLY like Jamberry and think they offer a great product.

7. And I'm off! Sarah and I are doing something tonight, we're not sure what yet, so I'm going to finish watching the WVU game (we're coming back!) while we decide what to do with ourselves!

Hope you've had a good weekend! Go see Jennifer.

Bunnies in Sweaters (Like Bananas in Pajamas)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Before you ask, no, I did not dress Snickers up in a costume tonight. Frankly I just don't see any way that rabbit could be cuter than he already is.

In the event you must see Snicks wearing something, here he is wearing a sweater in Christmas 2010 when he was but a wee bun of not-yet-one.

Doesn't he look thrilled.

Hope you had a very happy Halloween, indeed!

That En Vogue Song "Don't Let Go"

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nothing is better than hearing a song you like and just jamming out. (Or, if you're me, car dancing.) Often you can't explain why you like a song, you just do. If I hate a song, I just hate it and if I love it... well for a time it's my jam. Like my JAM.

One of my jams of the moment is that song Royals by Lorde. You know the one I mean. Don't act like you don't. I love it when she says "You can call me Queen Bee" because it reminds me of this fabulous picture right here:

That's me and my sister Erin in New York City. Erin got got us headbands before the trip so we could go sit on the Met steps like Blair on Gossip Girl. And Erin let me sit up higher than her so I could be Queen Bee. :)

In other news I've recently gotten into yoga. I have taken yoga classes in the past, but, frankly, never liked it because I felt like you had to be quiet and not move a whole lot and I'm a dancer for the love of Baryshnikov. But my hips and knees (really everything) have been hurting lately due to, you guessed it, dancing, so my mom thought maybe yoga would help. So I went to a class with my friend Sarah about two months ago and really had a great time.

One of my favorite parts of yoga is Shavasana. I mean, isn't that everyone's favorite part? Because I usually have a hard time falling asleep at night because of extreme stress or whatever reason (like stress) but during Shavasana I really do feel quiet. Like I wish I could sleep there.

Except there is one problem sometimes, and that is I cannot find the switch that turns off  my brain. How do other people do this? It goes something like this:

What will I eat for dinner when I get home? I'm really glad I picked up those beers at Bottle and Wedge before class. It's hot in here, is anyone else hot? Man my shirt is soaked. I'll have to do laundry. But can I wash and dry this shirt since I wonder-undered the front of it? And I already did a load today and this shirt would have gone in that load. If I can wash it, which I still don't know if I can. Anna you have got to free your mind for this Shavasana. Free your mind... didn't En Vogue sing that? Oh, remember that one En Vogue song Don't Let Go? That was good. I seem to remember a video of the four of them standing in a room singing and they were wearing leather or something dark and there were other people there. Wow that was a long time ago. I wonder if I have Don't Let Go on my iPod. Where is my iPod? Oh right, it's in my iPod dock, which I can't use since Snicks chewed the cord. Remember you ordered like three new ones but none of them were the right size or voltage even though you could have sworn by the third order you knew what to get? Where are those three other ones? Maybe dad could use them for something. I should look when I get home...

You get the picture.

Don't Let Go though, that really was my jam for a while in 8th grade or whenever that was.

For your viewing pleasure:

Conversations with Erin

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I truly love  having conversations with my sister Erin. She recently moved to Morgantown (our mom's family is there) and is now three hours away. We talk via Facebook messenger almost every evening. She is the funniest person I know, and often I go back and wonder -- how the hell did we end up talking about this? An example:

Erin and me. Keeping it real in NYC.
Anna: My dream is to eat donuts all day at the beach. Also, apparently, to be an Oscar Mayer wiener.
Erin: I just want to watch TV then talk about watching TV.
Anna: That sounds nice. I could also watch Once Upon a Time all day and talk to Story all day about Once Upon a Time. While eating donuts at the beach.
Erin: Why don't we have more money, that's the real problem.
Anna: Mo' money, mo' problems. Incidentally, what happened to Mase?
Erin: Is Mase a person?
Anna: .................................................... Erin. Seriously.
Erin: No.
Anna: You remember this video.
Erin: Yes.
Anna: OMG I'm rocking out. It's like 8th grade. Also, Mase returned a few years ago on a track called "Welcome Back" that sampled the Welcome Back, Kotter theme song. Then he disappeared again. I don't know how I know these things.
Erin: You shouldn't know them.

But really -- what happened to Mase? And I dare you to watch the video below. I dare you. Because I did... and I couldn't stop listening.


Just sayin'.

Seven Quick Takes -- With the Clan

Friday, October 25, 2013

Joining Jen's linkup at Clan Donaldson today!

1. I really love dinosaurs. REALLY. I have something like six dinosaur tee-shirts. In a related matter, my internet has been intermittently not working lately. It will just go in and out and in and out again. I have no idea what the deal is, but I do know that if I turn my router off and turn it on again it fixes it for a while. What does that have to do with dinosaurs you ask? Because anytime I'd try to refresh a page when my internet was shutting down, I'd get this message:

I have no idea what that t-rex has to do with my internet not connecting, but I'm for it. In fact, I feel like Apple/Comcast read my mind and knew that the only thing that would talk me off the ledge of internet going in and out hate is a picture of a dinosaur to bring me the bad news.

2. A few Saturdays ago my friend Sarah and I had to go to Lowe's to pick up landscaping supplies for a volunteer project we were coordinating. In the course of getting the plants and such, Sarah and I stumbled upon some really pretty mums on sale. Sarah decided to get some for her house. She told me I should get some too. And I was like -- Oh Sarah, where would I put these mums and what would I do with them? Sarah says, "You'll take them home and put them on your table and then when they die because you never watered them you'll throw them away." Touche, Sarah. So I did. That was... two Saturdays ago now? Something like that. At any rate, I watered them for the first time this evening.

3. I went to Hobby Lobby after work today because I needed to get a picture frame. Now, I get off work at 4 p.m., which is about an hour earlier than most people. I got to Hobby Lobby around 4:20/4:30 and can I just say I had NO IDEA Hobby Lobby was the place to be at 4:26 p.m. on a Friday. I could not believe how many people were there! It was nuts.

4. So there is something I've been doing for a while, and I'd like to see if anyone else does it too. From time to time when I'm doing work errands during the day, I'll drive by the alley where I live. And I can assure you that I NEVER drive by my alley without looking down at my apartment, fearing every time that my house is on fire. For one second I honestly believe that my house is on fire and baby Snicks is burning up. Because, of course, no one would call and let me know my house is on fire. Every time. Without fail.

5. I got a text message from Verizon the other day letting me know I can get $100 off a Samsung GS4 for a limited time! !!! It told me to reply 'x' to stop messages. So I did. And then I got another one and it told me to reply q. I can't make this stuff up:

Wow. It really reminded me of this (which cracks me up):

6. There are so many things I love about Once Upon a Time (newsflash, I know) but I realized today that out of all the wonderful messages that show gives -- like love is the most powerful magic of all, have hope, etc. -- there is one I may love more than all the rest.

If you love them and they love you, they will always find you.  

They will always find you. That's so nice to hear if you're waiting to be found.

7. Melissa and I are taking our dancers to a dance weekend at Jackson's Mill this weekend. Even though I will be FREEZING COLD, I am happy to do something that makes them so happy. I have packed three sweatshirts, two long sleeve shirts, three pairs of socks, a scarf and a hat... for two days.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

So... it's THURSDAY night! Woot woot! Although, believe it or not, this week I've been trying to make dinners at home thanks to a very much needed trip to the grocery this past weekend, tonight I fell off the wagon. Hi my name is Anna and I just polished off a container of Sheetz nachos. Apparently making rice and stir fry vegetables, gnocchi and chili in one week was too much for this girl. That is honestly more meals than I've made total in the past few months. (Incidentally I just Facebook messaged Erin and said "I fell of the wagon." She replied, "You.......... bought fast food didn't you?" She knows my soul.)


At any rate, I drove to the Sheetz after teaching ballet, around 6:45, and went in to MTO my nachos. To be honest, I was fairly appalled at the sheer number of people MTOing at that time. I mean, this is not the first time I've been to Sheetz for dinner around this time, and I don't recall there ever being this many people. As I waited on my nachos, even more people piled in the store. I honestly started wondering if they were running some kind of major deal or something I was unaware of.

Finally they called number 126 (me) and I grabbed my nachos and headed for the door. The second I pulled open the doors to head outside all my questions were answered.

It was the unmistakable scent of marijuana. (Or mariwhhhhana as Stewie Griffin would say. Can't find a link. Take my word for it.)

Based on what I smelled, the west end Sheetz did a helluva lot of business tonight. Stay classy west Huntington.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Last night after substitute teaching a ballet class, I headed up to the Huntington Museum of Art for the Fourth Tuesday Tour. Every fourth Tuesday of the month the Museum hosts a themed tour for adults. This month it was a Harry Potter-themed Halloween tour, which was very cool. My friend, Cindy, coordinates the tours at the Museum, and three years ago, when I still worked at HMA, Cindy and I developed the Harry Potter tour together.

One of the docents is someone I know from church and I used to babysit her kids as well. My mom recently told me Linda had gotten a job with the Museum, going around to first grade classrooms in the area and teaching art lessons. This is a perfect job for Linda. Mom told me she is so excited -- SO EXCITED -- to get this job. I mentioned it to her and we talked for a bit about how happy she is to have this job, and I could really tell she is just loving it.

I got home that evening, and, I usually do, found Snicks under the bed so I laid there on the floor and gave him a little pet. And as I petted him I thought about Linda and how much she loves her job and how she thinks it's perfect for her. I thought about what my perfect job would be, if I could do anything. What would make me the happiest; what would I truly like to be.

And do you know what immediately came to mind?

Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener. That is what I'd truly like to be.

Seriously. Anything in the world. An Oscar Mayer wiener. First thing I think of.

On Monotony

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On my way to work this morning, I started wondering out of the blue what is the point to days where nothing seems to really happen? (What can I say... it was raining and cold, perfect for introspection.) You know the days I mean... days that just seem to go by where you don't have an important conversation with a friend or you don't feel the light of God's presence in some significant way or you don't accomplish something important at work. I really wondered what the point of days like that are. In the grand story of my life or the grand story of God's plan for the world, what are the point of 24 hours that go by where things just seem... monotonous.

I suppose it should come as no surprise to me that I saw this on Facebook today:

This would absolutely not be the first time that Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen has spoken to me directly. I smiled to myself when I saw this post because I thought -- he's still watching. For whatever reason God is allowing him to watch over me. I really believe that one day, God willing, I will make it to Heaven and there he'll be, Archbishop (Saint) Sheen. And I will hug him and tell him thank you and I love you. And he'll say you're welcome and I love you too.

St. John tells us that if he recorded all the miracles Our Blessed Lord had worked, the world would not be large enough to contain the books thereof.  There was only one time in His life that He ever cursed a thing, and that was the day He saw the barren fig-tree which was not producing its fruit in due season, and therefore was not enjoying the thrill of monotony.  There is necessarily bound to be a thrill in working toward any goal or fixed purpose, and therein is the final reason for the romance of repetition.  There, too, is the line of division between genuine Christianity and modern paganism.  The Christian finds a thrill in repetition because he has a fixed goal; the modern pagan finds repetition monotonous because he never decided for himself the purpose of living.  Instead of passing the test, the modern mind changes the test;  instead of working toward an ideal, it changes the ideal;  it is not marvel that existence is drab, if one has never discussed the reason for existence.    How dull, for example, golf would be if there were never a green; how monotonous would be a sea voyage, if there were never a port; or a journey if there were never a destination.  Since the modern mind has never decided the goal of life, nor the purpose of living, nor the reason of existing, but like a weathercock has changed with every wind of doctrine and suggestion, it is necessarily bound to find life dull, drab, and monotonous.” 

Just Me?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Does anyone else read Mary Higgins Clark's books? Just me? No way. Lots of people have to. She's written like 864 books over the past 30 years or something nuts like that. I got into them because my mom and grandma love them. How it usually works is that my grandma gets her newest book and reads it, passes it to my mom who reads it, who then passes it to me and I get to keep it. My grandmother decided many years ago that I should have a complete MHC collection so she scoured used book sales and library giveaways and now I have two complete sets: paperback and hardback.

Anyways, I say all of that to say, many Mary Higgins Clark books have a similar theme in that they always feature a strong woman, she's always Catholic and goes to mass and she frequently finds love by the end of the book. (This is after one or more people are murdered of course, but who's counting.) At any rate, in many of her books, the main character always makes a plate of pasta. Either for herself or herself and someone else. So tonight, when I decided to make gnocchi for dinner (out of a box, but that's neither here nor there) I felt like a character in a Mary Higgins Clark novel.

Also, that may not sound like a big deal, but if you know me (or if you read #1 here) you'd wonder if I was okay. Especially since I sauteed (is that the right word?) some peppers and onions and ate it for dinner with rice yesterday. Point being this is two days in a row now that I've made dinner and not purchased it from a fine dining establishment such as El Taco Bella. Truth be told, I have had a bit of a stomachache after dinner both last night and tonight. I can't tell if that's because my stomach is only used to processing Sheetz nachos or if it's because the sun dried tomato pesto I used on my gnocchi tonight expired in May. I did see recently on the Today Show that food expiration dates aren't really realistic or something we have to follow, so...

Anyways, how cute is Snicks?


AM 800

Sunday, October 20, 2013

You know how certain smells or songs can transport you back to another time and place or remind you of someone or a certain situation? I have several of these triggers, but one huge one for me is Mountaineer football on the radio.

I was returning home from the grocery store yesterday when WVU kicked off at noon. I turned on AM 800, the Mountaineer Sports Network, to listen to the beginning of the game. While the voice is now Tony Caridi's and not Jack Fleming's, when I hear Mountaineer football on the radio, suddenly it's 1994 again. I'm 10 years old and wearing my old light blue jacket. I'm standing out in the yard of our old house on Young Court "helping" my dad with whatever project he was doing that Saturday. The air smells crisp and crunchy... it smells like fall and college football. And we are listening to the Mountaineers on the radio. Me and my dad.

THAT is fall. And I hope everyone has some memories like that.

Some of my family circa 2013 enjoying the first WVU game of the season.

Seven Quick Takes: Fast Food Connoisseur and Other Tales

Friday, October 18, 2013

Linking up again with Jen and friends today!

1. I think it is safe to say that my commitment to crappy eating is unparalleled. The meals I've eaten today have come from Starbucks and Honeybaked Ham. If you look at my checking account, the list of recent debits reads like a fast food convention/heart attack waiting to happen: Sheetz, Taco Bell, Jimmy Johns, Chick-Fil-A, Steak Escape, Wendy's, Gino's Pizza. There's just a sampling of my menu in the past TWELVE DAYS. There really is absolutely no point to this other than to say, when I commit, I COMMIT.

2. I am going to the super coolest thing tonight. The Huntington Museum of Art, where I used to work, is hosting an exhibition called "Population" by artist Ray Turner. Basically the artist goes into a community, photographs 15-20 people in that community that have been identified as having "interesting" faces; he photographs them, then goes home and paints their portraits based on the photographs. In the exhibit, he shows the people he painted in that specific community, plus about 80 people from past communities. At each place he exhibits the oldest 20 paintings are dropped off to make room for the 20 new ones. I hope that makes sense! At any rate, he photographed me back in the spring and the opening of the exhibit is tonight! I am so excited to go. I haven't seen my painting in person yet, but I saw it online. I think it's really fun! The only "negative" thing I've heard about it is a friend of mine said he thinks of me as a smiley person, and I'm not smiling in it. (The artist wouldn't let us.) But I think it's just fun to say a famous artist painted me and I'll be hanging in some Museums!

My hair doesn't look this good in real life. Photo courtesy of The Herald-Dispatch.

3. Post-opening I think my friend Sarah and I are going to Sip, which is this wine bar in Huntington. We haven't been in a while, and I just love it so I'm so excited to go! They have these wine flights you can try, and I know that's underwhelming to people who live in bigger cities, but it was kind of a new thing in Huntington!

4. Story asked me to write a letter of recommendation for her for a scholarship she's applying for. It has to be between 300 and 500 words. Really? I could write 500 words about something Story did/said yesterday that impacted my life. How do you say in 300 words "Story altered the course of my life." Maybe I'll just say that:

To whomever it may concern:

Story Moosa altered the course of my life. Give her the money. Call if you need more details.



5. A friend on Facebook posted this the other day it's a really interesting read. I can't quite figure out how I feel about it. I have two full-time jobs (one is full-time volunteer work) as well as countless other volunteer commitments, and, to be honest, I've been thinking a LOT lately about whether or not I am actually busier than I should be. I rarely have any downtime to rest or pray. I understand that our lives aren't always going to be cushy and easy, but I also wonder if God intends us to work 24/7 with no breaks or rest. Jen has written a lot about that, and I appreciate it. (Here is just one good example of what I'm talking about.) I honestly don't know the answer to this.

6. I looooooooooove finding new blogs to read and am always looking for recommendations. (My Feedly is currently populated by Jen, Grace, Sarah, Dweeja, Miranda, Jenny, Ashley and some others.)

7. Sadly I will not be going to Morgantown to watch the Mountaineers take on Texas Tech this weekend. Let's Go Mountaineers!

Go visit Jen for some more takes!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Can I tell you a secret? I LOVE Thursday nights.

I love Thursday nights like some people love Saturday nights. To me, Thursday signifies the end of a week. Although there's still work on Friday, something about work on Fridays doesn't seem as terrible as work on Wednesdays. By the time Thursday night rolls around I have done, talked to, taken care of, thought about, worried about all the things I'm responsible for in a week. Even though I'll still be responsible for things tomorrow, tonight is the sign I've made it through the week.

On Thursdays after work at the magazine, I head to the dance studio and arrive there around 4:20 to open up. I clean up and do some small tasks before I teach class from 5:30 - 6:30. I love teaching my kids, but when that class is over I get irrationally excited for the evening to come.

I leave the studio and get in my car and go to pick up dinner or head home to make somethi -- I go to pick up dinner. I get home around 7 or so and I settle in for a night of watching TV and reading blogs. And it feels GREAT. I watch E! News from 7-8 and then I switch to ABC for a three-hour block of great television where the Lord is so good I don't even have to exert the effort to change the channel. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (sidenote: the Good Lord knew that life has been such lately that we require more than one Once Upon a Time in a week) followed by Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. I read all my favorite blogs on feedly and tool around on Facebook. I believe this is what Carrie Bradshaw called "SSB" -- secret single behaviour.

Tonight I drove 16 blocks out of my way to go get nachos at Sheetz and I got some wine too because I wanted it and, again, it's so weird, but this feels GREAT. Like it is an absolutely indescribable feeling how good Thursday night feels. I also have an obsession with Friday night, but that's for another day. Also, the likelihood Friday night will get interrupted is WAY higher than Thursday night being interrupted.

Sometimes I get lonely or I think about how much I'd like to be married and have a baby, but I can tell you something for sure -- I NEVER get sad about those things on Thursday nights. On Thursday night singledom and loneliness is so worth it... no kids to finish up homework or get to bed, no one fighting me for the remote.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this yet, but it feels GREAT.

Thank you, ABC, for making my Thursday nights worth living.

Is that Cary Grant Across the Room?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This evening Melissa and I were at the dance studio for several hours, working on choreography we need to teach this weekend. While we were in the middle of Fight Scene (it hit me earlier that I spend a good majority of my life saying things like "when the Rat King grabs Clara maybe it can be like a hostage situation" but I digress) we heard the WEIRDEST noises at the studio. As a point of reference, our studio is super huge and there are parts of the upstairs that are super creepy. Like so creepy that ain't no one going up there at night, even if you are two people. So we just didn't. On the way home from the studio, I was stopped at a red light and I looked over and was like -- is that a... hearse? Yeahhhhh. Yeah it was. I got stopped at a red light beside it TWO TIMES. I should also add it's a dark and rainy night.

I came home and texted my brother Thomas who is the person I know most likely to appreciate a story such as this. I told him after all that had happened I felt like I was in a Hitchcock movie or the Twilight Zone. Thomas's reply?

"Makes you wanna wear high heels I bet. That's scary but elegant."

Pretty much the best thing ever. Made my day.

I was like -- I really like the way I look in my head. It's my face but like in a 1947 suit and heels and am I wrong or is that Cary Grant across the room?

So, to recap: Rat King --> Hearse --> Cary Grant

That's my life.
Don't I look classy? Murder is no excuse for dressing poorly.

Drinking Pink Champagne on a Cruise Ship

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Long before bucket lists were cool (thank YOU Morgan Freeman), I started a list I called "Things I Want To Do Before I Die." I started it back in high school and it's up to 60 things now. The only reason I know how many is because I just pulled the book out... for the first time in months and months. I thought about it last night, how very long it had been since I looked at my list, let alone crossed something off. There are so many things on this list and they vary so widely, but all make me smile. These are things like See a live moose, Drink pink champagne on a cruise ship like in "An Affair to Remember," Ride in a convertible with the top down with a scarf like Grace Kelly, Put a hammock in my yard, Go fishing, Go to mass in Latin. Clearly some of these are things I can't randomly do on a Tuesday evening. :) But it hurts my heart that I haven't crossed anything off in a while. But I think it hurts my heart even worse to know I haven't added to the list in a while. Oh Anna.

I keep my list in the back of a book that in the front pages holds quotes I love. Some I've written out, some are taped in from magazines or books. I also have a few mementos of nice things people have said about me. I looked at the most recent quote added to the book, and I'm sorry to say I don't remember when I put it in there. That breaks my heart too.

This is a book full of hope and happy things. So today, today I'm brushing the dust off of it and putting it in a place of honor, not the lowest book under the lamp on the beside table. I have a lot to do, and I need to get started.

It looks like nothing, but it holds everything.

Something Wonderful Will Happen

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sometimes it's so easy for me to love my life and be happy with who and where I am and not be lonely. And then sometimes there are Saturday nights. Saturday nights where everyone I know is at dinner with their boyfriend or at home with their husband and children. Like last night. I had had a great day with my friend Sarah going to breakfast and then shopping for and helping our new Junior League members complete their volunteer project. It really was a great day. But when it was over -- around 4 p.m. -- I was home by myself for the evening to eat takeout on my couch. And you know what? Sometimes that is AWESOME because I am queen of needing introvert time on the couch not talking to anyone. But other times it's so much fun to go to the wine bar or dinner with someone and just be out and alive.

I was struggling a bit with this last night, I'm sure mainly due to the circumstances of this week. But after I got my dinner, I was flipping channels and saw that movie "Enchanted" was on. What a great save, God. :) I love that movie because it is so, so hopeful, and I don't love anything like I love hope. And maybe some people prefer depressing movies when they're not feeling so hopeful (misery loves company, I know), but not me. I like hopeful things when I'm not-so-hopeful because it makes me smile to see love and hope and feel my heart move as I remember I still believe those things. Even if it is just in the movies. 

And, I always stay absolutely silent for my favorite line in Enchanted -- "But dreams do come true. And maybe something wonderful will happen." 

Something wonderful sounds nice. 

Seven Quick Takes: Pancakes and Nuns

Friday, October 11, 2013

Linking up with Jen and friends!

1. My friend Sarah and I are co-chairs of Membership for the Junior League of Huntington this year, which means we're in charge of securing and training new members. Part of their membership requirement to join is to do a service project. This fall, their project is landscaping the Junior League Community Center, which is used by many local organizations at low or no cost for meetings and events. The new members' responsibility was to plan it all and give us a shopping list. Sarah and my responsibility is to buy the stuff on the list. We are landscaping tomorrow at noon. Do you think Sarah and I have purchased the stuff yet? No we have not. Which means we get to make a trip to Lowe's at 8 a.m. tomorrow. I don't know if you've ever visited Lowe's at 8 a.m. on a Saturday but it is populated by my parents and other 50-somethings. And me and Sarah. We're hoping to squeeze in a trip to iHop for cheap, delicious breakfast to make getting up at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday worthwhile.

2. If you do not think this is absolutely making my life worth living right now, you don't know me at all.

3. I don't feel deeper disappointment in my life, I don't think, than when I get on Feedly and my favorite bloggers have no new posts. I went out of town for a few days in August and didn't keep up with blog reading, and I was SO EXCITED when I got back to so many posts to read. I LOVE IT.

4. Is it spelled iHop or am I getting that confused with iPhone, iPod, iPad?

5. Just looked it up. It is, in fact, IHOP.

6. I'm going to a surprise party tonight for two of my dearest friends who are both turning 30. They are married; Ryan's 30th was yesterday and Jana's is next week. I honestly cannot  believe it's time for my friends with whom I graduated to turn 30. My birthday is in July... it was crappy when everyone turned 21 before me, but not so bad when it's 30! Although I'm weirdly looking forward to 30. Being a 20-something has been hard.

7. My friend Marissa entered the convent in mid-August; the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia in Nashville. Before she left, I let her know that the weekend of Oct. 5-6 I had a wedding to attend in Nashville and that I'd love to go to Sunday mass at her convent and catch a glimpse of her. I knew we wouldn't be able to talk, but I thought it'd be awesome to see her face and know she was there and doing well. When we got to the chapel we were WAYYYY in the back. I prayed and prayed all through mass that God just let me get a quick look at her face. As I was walking back to my pew from communion, I spotted her at the last possible moment. She didn't see me, but I was so grateful to God for answering my prayer. After mass, my mom, sister and I stayed seated just in case Marissa might walk by on her way out. Then, the best thing happened. Marissa walked near me and motioned for me to leave the pew; she took my hand and led me down a hallway where we got to TALK FOR 10 MINUTES!!! It was so awesome. She told me she's doing so well and that Jesus loves me so much! She also told me that she's been learning lately how God loves us because we're his daughters, not because of the things we do or what we accomplish. He just loves us because we are his daughters and he made us. It was so wonderful to hear! I honestly have never in my life been around someone who radiated so much joy. I really don't have words for it. Joy was just flowing out of her and I wanted to soak it up. I think it must be the kind of joy you can only attain when you are so right with God you could not be more right, fully living in his will for your life.

It was wonderful to see her, but I realized later the whole thing actually served an even bigger purpose. I had prayed to God so hard to please just let me glimpse her face, thinking that that was the absolute biggest and best thing that could happen. He responded by letting me talk to her and hug her instead. Which means God is prepared to give us abundantly more than we could ever think to ask for.

Now, go see Jen for way more fun!

Me and Marissa.

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