Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Relatively-Interesting Updates

(This post is for you, Aunt Betty.)

During the past few weeks, my little world was filled with paper-writing and frantic researching, so I haven't really had motivation to write anything I didn't have to. But now that's temporarily over, so I'm in a much calmer place. Let's write!

The first notable thing happened on game day at the LSU v. Ole Miss football game. This was the second (?) home game in which the band did not play "From Dixie with Love." (To update yourself on that story, go here.) To protest the withdrawal of the song, the KKK donned their creepy hoods and appeared on campus. This story was all over ESPN, the local news, and the student newspaper, (see this article or this one) so I will spare the details, and just say that I was dreading the national notoriety that Mississippi would get for this. The appearance of the Klan was slightly unnerving, only because it would add to that southern stereotype, and to quote Thomas, "C'mon! It's 2009!" But more so than the Klan's appearance, it was this video taken at the rally that floored me.

To the loudmouth in the red polo:
Are you serious?! Why are you yelling?? Good job. I'm glad that you made Mississippians seem more hateful, obnoxious, and ignorant than members of the Ku Klux Klan who, despite their label of "white supremacists," seemed more docile and humanized than you. Way to go.

On a much lighter and completely unrelated thread, the second notable thing that happened over the past few weeks was Thanksgiving at the Richardsons'! I was a little nostalgic for the Hamblen/Nance family gathering, and I especially missed that pineapple turkey. But once we got to Charlotte, my future family greeted us and assuaged those feelings. Over the course of that weekend, had plenty mini-adventures, and I even got some work done for my finals. Our activities included:
  • Playing horseshoes
  • Seeing The Blind Side
  • Eating "Russel's Products" (Grandma Brown's code word for barbecue)
  • Playing hide-and-seek with Isaac
  • Meeting more family members
  • Eating tasty tasty foodstuffs
  • Interpreting Lia's sign language
Thomas also took me to his grandmother's house (on his dad's side) in Manly, North Carolina. It was a sweet little town, and of course I took some photos with my phone.

This is the sign in front of a very small, but a very Manly Presbyterian Church across from his grandmother's house:
And here is the nifty sign in front of their house:

It was indeed a happy thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Exciting news!

Thomas and I are engaged!

Gather 'round children, for a little story time...

We had planned to go to Jackson, MS for our homecoming, which consequently, was also on the same weekend as my birthday. So on our way to Jackson from Oxford, Thomas asks if, during the hulla balloo of alumni events and reuniting with friends, that we can have some alone time for birthday presents. Of course, I say, and we go our separate ways as soon as we park on Millsaps' campus. Later on in the afternoon, we get back together, and Thomas suggests that we do the gift giving at the old observatory on campus, which, some of you already know, is kind of special to us for it's location and it's lending itself to good metaphors. (that's another story).

Best birthday ever. My first gift: gummy bears! 2nd gift: a framed piece of paper that Thomas painted and fashioned to look like an ancient scroll, which turned out to look like this:

Very neat. So he tells me what it says and that it's from Song of Songs, the verse that begins "Set me as a seal upon your heart"---very touching. And if you look at it through squinted eyes, it kind of looks like the United States, but that's beside the point.

Then down he goes, and the rest is history. I couldn't have planned it to be better.

I can't actually wear the ring just yet, thanks to my larger-than-life knuckles. So next weekend I'm headed to Nashville to get the official jewelers of the Tennessee Titans (you didn't know I was so special! haha!) to get it re-sized. In the meantime, for you who are curious, here is a photo:

In this light, it looks gold, but it is actually white gold. I took the pictures with my iPhone, so not the best quality, but there will be plenty of time for that! If I may say, I think Thomas deserves kudos for picking out such a pretty thing! *applause*

We aren't quite sure yet when the nuptials will happen, but we have been telling people that the summer of 2011 looks most likely, and it will probably take place somewhere in Tennessee, but probably not Jackson.

It's so exciting! I'm happy to finally be able to share this with people! (I had to write a blasted paper this week, one that I just now finished, so I felt like it was about time!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

La la la la la la la

Sunday was my first visit to a church here in Oxford, and my first visit to church (in general) in a while. On Dr. Coker's recommendation, I went to the Oxford-University United Methodist Church, where the Chamber Singers actually sprinkled our choral delights while I was still at Millsaps.

My motives, admittedly, were not primarily spiritual--I have been wanting to join a choir again, so I went to hear the choir sing and meet the choir director, Lee, and I happened to receive some spirituality along the way, which was fine by me.

And even though I went to hear the choir, I probably have the most to say about the sermon! (Granted, the choir only sang one song without the help of the rest of the congregation, so I wouldn't have much to work with in that respect, anyway). The minister's open remarks were simultaneously surprising and somewhat typical, and I will paraphrase them now: "Yesterday was a great day for Ole Miss football! What a great thing to play Alabama two weeks in a row [University of last weekend and UAB this weekend...wherein lies the joke] and come out triumphant in the end!" I have to say that I wasn't expecting a sermon introduced by football, and yet I should not have been surprised--knowing that football itself has its own religious followers! (See this post)

The minister seems like a good guy, and I will look forward to hearing more from him about football and other matters of spiritual concern--I have decided to join the choir, and I do look forward to singing regularly (somewhat) again! I joined at a good time: All Saints Sunday is November 1st, and apparently there is quite the repertoire planned.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Busy Weekend

I'll start this long, unattended blog with a list of diversions that I took part in this weekend: greek food, football, blooper reels, (crazy) people watching, seeing friends from college, a book reading, a book signing, and lots of sleeping in.

This weekend, Ole Miss hosted the largest audience in MS football stadium history. Over 62,000 people attended the Alabama/UM throwdown, and were lucky enough to see the UM quarterback, Jevan Snead, throw a grand total of 11 completed passes out of 30-something. 4 of those were interceptions. (Cue Benny Hill themesong).

With the game, comes The Grove. There were lots of typical grove-sightings--people dressed in clothes that weren't exactly appropriate for the misty, chilly weather, wooden lattice tents with large flower arrangements and red and blue decorations, flat-screen plasma TVs connected to mini-satellites, and cooky Ole Miss decorations (an old-timey red and blue car, with a license plate that said COL REB and an inflatable colonel, just to name a few). Because of the weather, there was also a lot of mud. And people braving that mud in their high heels.

After that game, Thomas and I had tickets to go hear David Sedaris give a talk and read from some of his diary entries and from his new book. Sedaris=hilarious. I wrote an email to a friend about the book-signing experience, so here is a little bit of that so I don't have to repeat myself:


I wanted to tell you about the amazing and hilarious "Evening with David Sedaris" that we had last night--coincidences and all.

First, when we got there, somebody calls my name in the lobby, and it's Jessica Nelson! Her sister lives in Oxford, and they were there together. Then, we go find our seats, and we see Laura Cost and Kate Garand (Thomas taps my shoulder and says, "Hey, those are Millsaps people!") and then, we look to the opposite side of the room and see JP, Katie, and Allison Purves. Crazy. . . .it was really good to see everyone.

I want to tell you the story of getting our books signed. We (Thomas and I) went up there together, and the first thing he said was, "Have you ever set anyone on fire?" To which I replied, mostly because I didn't know what else to say, "I'll have to think about that." Then he starts drawing a picture in my book, and it's a turtle. So I say, "What a nice turtle!" to which he replied "I drew it because I knew you would like turtles, since you're a Sagittarius." Well, I'm not, but I said that was close. Then we sort of chatted about us being in graduate school for this and that, and he asked Thomas if there could be a case for an obese Jesus (something he talked about in his reading) and we were on our way. It was so fun! I wanted to ask him if he knew of this town in France called Brive something, but that didn't really come up.

He read some really funny diary entries, and I want to tell you one of them. His "theme" for this tour was stories about rude behavior, and this was one of those stories he told about that: A woman was working at a Starbucks, and this customer comes up to the cash register, so the woman says, "How can I help you?" to which the customer doesn't really respond. So the cashier starts talking her her supervisor who's right next to her, to which the woman customer irately replies "Hello! Excuse me!" And the cashier says "Yes, I was just talking to my boss" and the woman customer says, "I am your boss!" Haha! There were lots of funny stories---I'll have to tell you some more later."

Well, it's that time again--time to fit a bunch of work into a small amount of time!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Update from UM #2

I'm still alive, and yes mom, I'm eating well.

There hasn't been much to post lately and there hasn't been much time to post. Here are just a few updates:
1. Yesterday was UM's first home game. It was pretty rainy, so we didn't go to the grove, but by the time we got to the stadium, the rain was gone and we enjoyed a shut out game from the Rebels.
2. I found (and participated in) a karaoke bar in Oxford.
3. The next journey to Nashville (via Jackson) is in less than 2 weeks!
4. If you don't have Netflix, or some home delivery movie-renting service, you should get it. It's fabulous.

That's all for now. Since school started, I have been the time management queen. Clock's a tickin!

Monday, August 24, 2009

HAH at U of M

I have been putting off an update from Oxford, MS because, well, nothing really noteworthy has happened since I've been here. I mean, moving in, setting up, orientation, and getting acquainted with Oxford has pretty much been the extent of my almost 2 week long residence. And it has all happened in a blur. I did manage, however, to bake my first loaf of bread. (Thanks Meagan!) But other than that: banality.

BUT! Something very exciting happened today. Let me begin this story by setting up a few starting points:

1. As of Friday morning (maybe Thursday afternoon, but either way), the Ole Miss Ticket office sold out of student tickets. However, they graciously announced that they would be selling 1500 more tickets Monday morning (this morning) at 8:00am.
2. I go to get my tickets Friday afternoon, wonder why there is no line, and find a sign on the door with the above info. No problem, right? I'm free Monday morning.
3. 9:00 Sunday night, my new friend Mary Elizabeth drives past the coliseum to see...people? No. TENTS. People have set up tents to camp in the day before classes start so they can get tickets to this year's Ole Miss football games.

Because I have to get tickets too, I say to Mary Elizabeth, who has already resigned staking out her spot in this line, "I will bring you coffee tomorrow morning, 6:00am sharp." I have class basically all day and all night Monday, so I opted to catch a wink before my first day of classes.

I promptly arrived, 2 large mugs of coffee in hand, to join 2 friends already in line, which has started to stretch all the way around the coliseum. The spectacle was incredible! Here are a few items I saw in tow with the students in line:
-air mattresses
-a tv, on which some guys were playing video games
-coolers of drinks and food
-an elaborate game kind of like cornhole, but with golf balls on strings and pvc pipe instead of bean bags and particle board.
-laptops and various media devices to occupy oneself. Speaking of which, I also heard a girl say, "I love my Blackberry and my iPhone. I wish I could just put them together!"
-pizza boxes
-dogs. Including Lily, my roommate's miniature dachshund.
-lots of Ugg boots. LOTS of them.

It was truly a religious experience. We were in line to be baptized at the font of the ticket booth, people playing music, chanting (Are...you.....READY!), murmuring about how excited they are and about how long they've waited for this, and celebrating, bursting into fits of excitement because they FINALLY got their tickets, after they've been faithfully devoted to standing in line for 12 hours.

I may have to devote these little reflective moments to the church of the SEC. So, until then, or in the unlikely event that something cooler happens,

Go Team!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Mom and I just saw the movie, Julie and Julia, and the story was so wonderful. I absolutely loved it. Without giving anything away, it tells the stories, side-by-side, of Julia Child, and a woman, Julie, who goes through her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, for one year, making every recipe.

It combined two of my most favorite things: food and humor. Ah, such an immaculate combination! I think part of Julia Child's charm was her ability to make others smile, but what I never, ever, EVER paired Julia Child and sexuality.

I know! What? But I am glad the film showed that side of Julia. Not only did it make her a real, round character (as she undoubtedly was) but it cast such a positive and joyous light on her marriage to Paul Child. Their relationship was so sweet and loving.

And some people may not have like the "Julie section" because she was neurotic and had "melt-downs" at the drop of a wooden spoon, but I thought it was perfect for her situation: a nervous, semi-insecure woman who loved to write, with a ho-hum day job, living the big city life on top of a pizza delivery store in Queens, with successful frenemies who have bested the corporate world and a husband who takes all her insecurities in stride. And I loved all of it.

The big meal of the film, boeuf bourguignon a la Julia Child, (boning a duck got it's highlights, too) looked absolutely delicious. YUM. I'll tackle that one some day, with apron, tongs, and fearlessness in hand.

I don't think that it was typical of my generation to grow up with Julia teaching us how to tackle omelets with confidence and courage, but perhaps the closest icon I have to compare to Mrs. Child is Nigella Lawson. Her enthusiasm, but more importantly her beautiful way of expressing it, is on the Julia Child level of delightful. Someone should try all of her recipes and write about it! Someone...

Bon Apetit!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sayonara, six-one-five

The wonderful days of my residence in Tennessee's capital city are over! Packing my last belongings and locking the door on my way out were some sad events, and leaving definitely had its share of bitter and sweet moments, but future visits are in the works, so Nashville and I will reunite, and it will feel so good.

On my last day, I went to a Titan's practice, (where some very outgoing children and I made friends, and I found out from Tyler, a 3 year old, that "Bears don't eat wood.") ate at the Horn of Africa, and watched some baseball on TV. If you have never been to an Ethiopian restaurant, it is not an experience to miss!

Things about Nashville I will miss:
  • Do I have to say it? Family, friends, and Thomas. duh! and Mr. Bodhi. He's basically a person.
  • That bangin' Farmer's Market.
  • The attraction that "Music City" has to performers. (Coldplay, Flight of the Conchords, lton John and Billy Joel, Broadway musicals, etc. etc. etc.)
  • It's proximity to other hubs of action and entertainment

Things about Oxford I'm anticipating:
  • School! Go ahead; call me a nerd--but watch out for my sweet kickboxing moves.
  • Getting to know my roommate (and her puppy, Lily).
  • Square Books. And no, I don't mean books that are square. See hyperlink.
  • Even though I hate to admit it (and still hold up my promise from this post), football games.
For now, I'm in Limbo/Jackson, TN. Oxford, I'll see YOU Friday!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cloud a hundred

The sort of last-minute, on-a-whim decision to go the Marcy Playground concert in Huntsville, Alabama, was, in short, a good one. It was a small venue, so we could get up close and personal. The lead singer of Marcy Playground, John Wozniak, has a wonderful voice, and the band has a great sound, so the musicality of the performance was great. AND, for the crowning jewel of the night, we got to meet, take pics with, and speak to "Woz." You'll have to go to Thomas' blog for that story and picture.

But since you're here, let's view some of the talent that was brandished on the stage:

This is the first (and one of my favorite) song they played. Thomas and I had a bet going--about which song they would play first--and he won. Lucky.

This is my favorite song! It's called "Good Times," and it is from the new album. (You can listen to some of those songs here.)

Here's the one you are probably most familiar with:

Because the light in the bar was not so good (surprise! haha!), I had to put the "night scenes" mode on my camera, which basically leaves the shutter open for a long time. It makes for some pretty neat pictures:

It was so much fun. The after-midnight drive back to Nashville was made easy because we were so giddy. I'll sign off with a quote from Thomas: "Dude, I am on cloud a hundred right now."

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Most Confusing Place on Earth

That's right. You know where I'm talking about. Tunica, Mississippi.

This weekend, Thomas, Kyle, Anna, and I took a little vacation to the self-acclaimed "Gambling Capital of Mississippi," (Biloxi? Gulfport? Apparently not). What the sign should really say is "Confusing Capital of Everywhere." For those of you who have taken your wallets and your bodies to gambling emporiums may know what I'm talkin' 'bout.

1. When you get there, you have to get a member card. Much like a credit card, this one accrues points that you can use to buy food, get prizes, etc. after you've used it in slot machines or on tables. However, it seems that the system for assigning points is completely arbitrary. If two people play the slot machines, both for the same amount of time, both losing (winning? please) about the same amount of money, one person will have a tiny little sum (worth about $.08), and the other will have zilch (worth about the same. wink).

2. The cards do not work in every machine. They are "invalid" in some machines, and in others, they work like charms. They also are supposed to have your names on them, but that information, too, is also arbitrary. If you would like to change identities for a night, like they do in Vegas, all you have to do is let the employees change your last name from Richardson to Richard. Or Susannah F. to Susanna M. Or if you want to make an inter-temporal journey, just ask for a card from 1999. And the staff will be sure to oblige your request.

3. If you think you'll just spend a penny at the penny slots, you've got another thing coming. The big really means that you have to bet 30 "credits" (¢) everytime.

4. Winning at the slot machine is a discipline you might need a degree in. First, there are lots of buttons to push these days, not just the lever to pull--I think people have come to terms with that. BUT! You can bet different odds, for different lines (that are really just different colored zig-zags), and increase (decrease?) your odds. Here is a photo of a winning screen:

A 'Q,' a wild, some flowers, a treasure chest, and an 'A,' is what it took to win this one. I think I won something like 6 whole credits on this spin. On another machine, I had a string of pearls, 2 birds, and a lamp post, and I think I won something like 3 credits. I guess I should enroll in the Casino College.

Probably the most fun I had that night was the quick blackjack lesson I received from a dealer, Mr. Donnie Lucious, when I was the only one at the table. I learned about splitting, and insurance, and when I could improve my odds. He was really a nice old guy. I came out $10 richer from that table than I started with, ("Big Winner!" Mr. Lucious said) only to have it yanked away by the slot machines later. But hey, those points for my lunch buffet the next day.

It should probably go without saying, but I also enjoyed the company of my pals. Here we are in front of the Hollywood Casino. The picture is crooked because I put my camera on someone's Honda to get us all in there. I hope they don't mind!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gettin' Rural

One book on my personal reading list this summer is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. For me, this has been a refreshing read- its topic is one of my favorite subjects-FOOD! And after the Welty workshops last summer and my AmeriCorps term this summer, I've become so grateful to my surroundings, which is a shared sentiment I found in this book. And since I will soon be changing surroundings soon (I think I'm tearing up!), I wanted to express my gratitude.

So thank you, Nashville Public Radio and Lightning 100 for telling me about shows at the Ryman, about www.picktnproducts.org, and for commentator Frank DeFord's cheerful voice every Wednesday morning.

Thank you, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for Forgie's Fruit Farm, where we picked Harvester peaches on a beautiful landscape.

So delicious, it's "forbidden!"

And thanks to tastespotting.com (not really part of my surroundings, unless you wanted to call them my "cyber-surroundings") for the recipe that turned those tasty peaches into this:

Thank you Middle Tennessee, for the twangin', the pickin', and the drinkin' at the Full Moon Pickin' Party in Warner Parks.

These players (above, not below-:) ) at one point played the Bluegrass version of the Scooby Doo theme song. I kid you not.

Oxford, MS (not a completely different landscape at all) is just a wee 4 1/2 hours from Nashville, TN (and only 2 1/2 hours from my home in West Tennessee), so I don't think I'll be much deprived from anything. However, I will have to hide my Vanderbilt and Go Vols T-shirts, unless I want the wrath of the South upon me!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Peace up, A-town down

This summer's first trip to Atlanta was a short one. The less-than-24-hour whoosh to A-town, however, gave me an excuse for a long weekend, and it put a little diversion in my life. It was a wonderful preview for the 2nd visit, which will be in July!

We arrived a few hours before the baseball game, in which we visited with the Howards (Thomas' sister, brother-in-law, and nephew) and gave over to the musings and whims of Isaac. In this Hallmark-esque candid I captured, Thomas and Isaac singing a song with muppets and their celebrity friends:

(side note: if grad school doesn't work out, my next career move will be to work for Sesame Street. No joke.)

After visiting, we made our way through the thick, thick Georgia air to Turner Field. We love baseball! (That shine on our faces was put there by the devil gods of heat and humidity.)

Go Braves!

Sadly, they lost, and we changed our expressions.

How I love making faces!

Before I wrap this ballpark hot dog up, I will add an event that makes a first for both T-bag and me--Thomas made it to the jumbo-tron! Tuh-wice! A cute little kid that was behind us and to the left was gettin' funky with his inflatable tomahawk, and when they captured his ultra-psychedelic moves, the Atlanta crowd also got a little bit of Thomas to go with them!

Peace up, and peace out,

Monday, June 22, 2009

Going to Oxford-town

Last weekend, mumsy (aka mom, May-rann, and Mrs. Hambelton) and I made the sojourn to Oxford, Mississippi, my future home for the next two years. This was our tentative itinerary:

1. Walk around the school, familiarizing with the buildings I may spend my waking (or sleeping) hours
2. Walk around the square, making stops at the various book stores (which were all the same store, with slightly different names). We ended up buying lots of books. I know I'm about to have to purchase many "serious" books, but my justification for the fun purchases was that I still have a month and a half to read what I want. Ready, set, read!
3. Visit the condo where my future roommate and I will be living
4. Eat dinner with roommate and grill her relentlessly about her living habits, making sure they are harmonious with my own. (ha! just kidding) I'm just glad she didn't say anything about what Ellen referred to as "nesting." She's actually pretty neat--I almost wish I had something crazy to say about her...NOT!

We also tried to visit the Faulkner house. We drove past a very official-looking placard, you know, one of those historic site notices, but I'm almost positive it was just in some body's yard. It didn't have the stature and place in history that I imagine Rowan Oak would. Besides, it was very residential. And by that, I mean if I had knocked on the front door, I'm sure that a man with no shirt and his scruffy little poodle-schnauzer would have greeted me.

Before dinner, we had about 2 hours to kill (there isn't that much to see in Oxford...go figure), so we stopped in "Oxford Mall" and saw the only movie that was playing at the moment: Land of the Lost. Wouldn't recommend that one.

Our last stop was Rooster's - a restaurant/bar where we met Elizabeth, the very nice, down-to-earth, normal person who is letting me live out of her condo. You might say she's a craigslist oddity. :)

The visit to Oxford served its purpose, and now I am geared up to pack my things and move them back to good ole Mis-a-sip (thanks for the nickname, Danielle!). Oxford, as mom put it in 2 very different ways, is "a small town with a big history," and in a completely different context, "not a shopping mecca."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Proof I can cook...sort of

A few weeks ago, I posted a bit about cooking, and I requested recipes. Thanks to Courtney Bradshaw Howe (via facebook), I have become addicted to a website that calls itself "a community driven visual potluck." Tastespotting.com is a drool-fest and a half. Every day I visit this site, browse through the little squares of tasty treats and such, and lust after things like margarita cupcakes, caprese pasta, and strawberry lemonade.

The thing about tastespotting.com is the photos. It seems that they are either professional photogrophers or professional chefs. Either way, they know how to make that food look GOOD.

So the purpose of this post is to say that I (and my stomach) have been so inspired to try some of these recipes, and in tastespotting fashion, I've taken pictures of them all. FEAST your eyes upon my not-so-professional shots of tasty, tasty things.

Monkey Bread:

Thanks, Megan, for the Bundt tin! This scrum-diddly-umptious creation is basically butter, sugar, cinnamon, and biscuits. I don't know why they call it monkey bread--that's probably not the best name--but I don't think butter-sugar-biscuit-bits is actually better, either. The recipe I used--and a better photo--are here.


Thank you for this recipe, Shannon! I didn't use any meat for this recipe, just spinach. And the white stuff on top is fake parmesean--which probably didn't make for the best picture, but I assure you, it was gooooood eatin.

Here's a slice of it:

Cheese+spinach+spaghetti sauce+noodles=:p (yum!)

And last but not least, homemade potato chips, before:

And after:

I also got a recipe for chicken rotel (thanks Laticia!) and blueberry "butter" (it was more like jelly--Thanks Paula), and I didn't take any pictures of that, but that doesn't make them less delicious, by any means. In the future I will surely be making treats and taking pictures of them. Tastespotting has led me to have unrealistic expectations for my food, so I hope it doesn't decide to stop posing! :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Roger not 'Rob'bed

Usually I leave the sports commentating up to Thomas, but I'm going to butt in on this one. The French Open final between Roger Federer and Robin Soderling is the topic of this post--so if you are a sports buff, but aren't into tennis, feel free to have a merry jaunt on over this website for other big-time sports happenings.

I thought this match was great--it was played well, both men carried themselves very honorably, and there was even a shocking interjection when a "jester" ran onto the court and waved stuff in Federer's face before being tackled and hauled off the premises. And Roger won (can't you tell I'm a fan?), and as expected, gave a tear-laden (and bilingual!) speech to top it all off.

As much as I enjoyed the match and the fact that my pick scooped up that last grand slam to put himself in the history books, I felt so badly for Mr. Soderling. He was doomed the moment he stepped out onto the clay. And everyone knew it. The whole world was rooting for Federer at this point--the crowd knew it, and said so with each chant, and the commentators went on and on about how Federer was a "peaceful warrior" and so forth. At one point they said something to the effect of "usually the crowd wants a good match, a close match, but not today." Everyone knew Federer had to win this--even from the moment his rival lost in the quarterfinals.

I am very happy Federer got to join my 2 favorites of all time (Sampras and Agassi) with his achievement. But I am also happy that Soderling's play didn't reflect that the world was not on his side. His demeanor was never dejected, and he continued to play the way he might against any other opponent. His joke at the end, that nobody beats him 11 times (Federer has beat him 10), to me, said, "Keep bringin' it, Rog."

Monday, May 25, 2009

I forgot the best part!

People! In my post yesterday, I had so much fun talking about the sights and sounds that I FORGOT to talk about the highlight of my day! So let me tell you about it.

While Thomas and I were waiting on some equestrian games to begin, a wasp sat on my shoulder. After a small freak-out moment (my eyes just got really big, basically), I used my mighty thumb and my terrorizing fore-finger to *flick* the little guy away from my face. I mean, you just can't be O.K. with a stinging bug being two inches away from stinging you in the eyeball. Whew! When I thumped the little bugger, he/she left a little residue on my shoulder--maybe from where I thumped it so hard.

Here's the best part, and I wish that blogger let you record things, but since it doesn't, I'll do my best. A man behind me, who was probably from the Midwest, maybe Wisconsin or Chicago, commented on my situation. But this big, bald guy behind me says, "A BEE 'r somethin' la-unded ahn 'er an he POOPED!"


He tried to comment further, but I escaped the situation and blew up with laughter. It was definitely one of the highlights of the day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Little Britain in Middle Tennesse

This weekend, Thomas and I went to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, about 25 miles outside of Nashville, for some turkey legs, bawdy pub humor, jousting, and people watching. We arrived in Arrington, TN at about lunch time (don't think we didn't time it that way!), salivating for a big ol' turkey leg. Unfortunately for us, everyone else's taste buds were doing the same thing because they ran out of turkey legs while we were still standing in line. Boo! So we split a sausage sandwich instead, in an attempt to be "exotic."

Next, we wandered around for a while, waiting for "Axel the Sot" to do his comedy routine. In that time, we saw some tourney games--you know, all the horseback games that aren't jousting-- and we observed several games that we didn't have the money to play--like archery, the axe throw, a knife throw, the mug slide, where you try to slide the stein down the bar onto a target, and a test of strength, which was basically the equivalent of the carnival game where you hit the target with a sledgehammer to ring the bell. There was also a human chess match going on, which was pretty neat. It got kind of old though, what with all the coreographed battles between two [over]actors happening. And let's not forget the "birds of the gauntlet." They were, let's see, badass. You don't want to cross those dudes. Man.

When it was time for Axel the Sot, we headed back to the pub, grabbed some ale, and took our seats. Our drunk sailor-comedian was full of some funny vulgarities. After his jokes and songs, we headed to the tournament field for the most anticipated event: the joust!

No one was unhorsed during the jousting, which was probably for the best, because all of the jousters had white beards and looked like Dick Cheney. But there were some shattered lances, which was ne-e-e-at.

Going to the Renaissance fair was a fun experience, and I'm glad it was had. (rhyme!) I think the most interesting part of it all was the different people there. It made you wander what that person with the bad British accent* and the fake fox tale and the elf ears and the fairy wings and the chainmail and the really dark makeup did for a living. Did he/she have all that stuff lying around, or did they buy it before such an occaision? Did he/she feel more comfortable dressed in Renaissance/Computer game/typical British*/fantasy attire than their regular clothes (which, quite possibly, could have been what they were already wearing)? What really matters, is that they were there, and I had the privilege to observe them.

*Even though it was a Renaissance fair, almost everyone there was a part of Elizabethan England, or they were a part of Fern Gully, which was neither English nor Renaissance. :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


You are not reading a culinary whiz's blog. I merely wish I had the knife skills of my food network heros, their know-how, creativity, or their seemingly innate ability to put together the perfect combination of ingredients. I wouldn't know where to get fondant in the first place, and even if I could get my hands on some, I wouldn't know what to do with it. I'd most likely end up on here. 3/4 of my experimentations end up begrudingly shoved down my throat (because let's face it, I can't afford to waste food--even bad food), and the rest ends up covered with disdain in a Ziploc container, just waiting to be consumed by the garbage disposal.

That being said, I've been trying a lot of new foods and recipes lately. My latest successes have been lentil soup, squash casserole, and a recipe my friend Anna sent me called African peanut stew. All of these trials have taught me that I am really good at following a recipe (and making spaghetti, but really the only experimenting I do there is with different combinations of veggies to throw in there, and I think the difficulty that comes with screwing up spaghetti is beyond my ability level...thank goodness).

So please, reader(s), send me your recipes! Browsing the food network website isn't always reliable, and I love sharing recipes with people. In fact, I'll start the sharing. Here is the recipe from the Nance family (that would be my mom's side of the family, for you non-related folks floating around this blog) for banana pudding. I guess you could call it Ba-Nance-a Pudding!! (I'm almost positive this recipe is pretty common, but as far as recipes go, I wouldn't really know!)


Instant Vanilla Pudding (NOT the sugar free kind)
About 4-5 bananas
A box of Nilla Wafers (insert copywright symbol here)
2 cups of milk (I think 2 is right--I always just look on the back of the pudding box where the directions are, and subtract the given amount by one cup.)
the Large tub of Cool Whip
a large can of Eagle brand condensed milk

Combine the pudding mix, the milk, and the condensed milk--it's easiest to use an electric mixer her. Mix in the cool whip with a spatula. Start making a layer of Wafers on the bottom of casserole dish--it doesn't really matter the size or shape. Add a layer of sliced bananas, then add a layer of pudding mix. Do this (wafers, nanners, pudding) until the dish is filled, then top it with the rest of the pudding mixture. We always made a border around the dish with wafers, so it sort of looking like a banana pudding crown, and then used the crumbles at the bottom of the box to sprinkle over the top of the pudding. In other words, don't be stingy with the wafers.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Perpetual Student

I've found that since I graduated from college, checking my email just isn't that fun anymore. To compound the matter, I haven't been able to shake the habit of compulsively checking my email. So, when I would check my school email every 30 minutes, I would have at least a few emails, telling me about a friendly social event or that last fateful day that I could drop a class with a "W." Now, I'm like Pavlov's dog--except there is no dogfood. I want the dogfood!

So I've decided to sign up for a word-of-the-day from dictionary.com. I know it's not the same, but at least it isn't Amazon.com offering some awesome deal. I don't need $11 DVDs! At least this way I can gain some useful (or not) information, right?

Today's word of the day:
tyro \TY-roh\, noun:
A beginner in learning; a novice.

How appropriate that tyro is my first word! Since we are having so much fun here, let's use it in a sentence.

"Look, Charles, a tyro."

We did it!! Now YOU try!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


It's the new rage in London! Well, I'm not really sure about that, but I do feel like it could be.

Check it out.

Monday, April 20, 2009


While getting my routine biennial 10" haircut this past Thursday, I decided that I would be adventurous and experiment with bangs. I was a little nervous because of my previous experience with the forehead fringe, but I thought I could modernize my early 90s mishap this time. This haircut was diferent than previous ones because I had a friend participate with me! She donated approximately 12" of curly hair, and provided many pictures (as did I).

Before and after:

Learn more about locks of love!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy EASTer from Nashville

This is the second posting of pictures from my house in East Nashville. I took these pictures on Easter, as I thought it was a good way to honor the holiday.

Happy Easter! Enjoy the photos!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Highlights from FotC

Ellen, Thomas and I FINALLY got to see an AWESOME show this weekend. Last night was my first time to see the Flight of the Conchords live, and it was also my first time to see a show at the Ryman auditorium in Nashville. That venue was probably the perfect setting--the acoustics were fantastic, and for a large place, it seemed more akin to the small and intimate setting of a night club.

Kristen Schaal ("Mel" from the show) did a comedy bit before the duo came out. She was very, very funny. I think one of my favorite lines was "I wasn't sure what was going to happen tonight, but I knew that my shorts would sparkle!" She was indeed wearing gold, sequined shorts. She also did a really hilarious bit with a pot, pan, and wooden spoon, and another funny bit involving Law & Order SVU, an apron, and chocolate cake.

Then the fellas came out, and they brought down the house. They did a fabulous live show, complete with a guest cello player named Nigel, 2 encores, and (because I won the freakin' lottery and was on the front row, in front of Jemaine) I was given a special showing of booty shakin'! During the "Sugar Lumps" song, the dudes got out of their stools and got close to the proscenium. Some particularly brave ladies to the right of us actually got to shake hands with Bret, but I did notice that they enjoyed a few beers before the show, and they actually scared him before he was confident enough to touch them. I just enjoyed the proximity of it all, and I'm pretty sure Jemaine pointed at me and told me I was "staring at his 'sugarlumps.'" I can neither confirm nor deny whether or not I was actually partaking in the aforementioned act.

Here are a few quotes (ones that aren't exactly verbatim...but it's not like I had a recorder with me...that would've been illegal!) that I've selected to share from last night:

"Hello Nashville. Can we call you 'Nash?'"
"Play the next one, Jemaine!" -an audience member who was responding to the band's request to hear New Zealand accents, after doing impressions of a Southern accent
"Wow. That was a good impression and a good suggestion." -Jemaine, responding to the audience member
"His name was Stana"
"I told you I was freak-ay." with Bret echoing in a whisper "I told you I was freak-ay." (I lost it when they started whispering.)

I highly recommend seeing the Flight of the Conchords live, but if they aren't coming to a venue near you, you can always watch clips of them on YouTube! Here is a pic: http://sdlr.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/flight_of_the_conchords.jpg

That's all for now,


Friday, April 3, 2009

Final Grad Decision

Hey guys. Even though I will be a student here next year, I will not be taking part in singing this song:

Nor will I be hanging out with these d-bags:

However, I am excited, and in spite of what my friends are saying, I'm ready to go back to school! :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

See the new blog...

...that I just posted. It dates it as March 20th, which is not right. It's the one called "East Nashville."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Updates on the school front

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of this week all consisted of a whirlwind of traveling, campus-visiting, and time with family and friend. (That's supposed to be singular, haha!)

Sunday, Mom and I made the 7 1/2 hour drive to Columbia, South Carolina, so I could visit the campus where gamecocks walked around and palm trees were in pots. It was a very pretty campus--the houses and buildings around reminded me of the seaside in Charleston: pastel colors, big windows, an older style of architecture. Like I said, the campus was beautiful, but of course, the humanities building was a big ugly cement structure, with slits for windows! (Don't feel bad, SC fans--it seems that almost every building with "Humanities" in the title is destined to look like a delapidated cement fortress.) Regardless of its seemingly drab appearances, the program was awesome. I also got to visit briefly with Danielle, which was so much fun!

Monday night after the visit, Mom and I then drove to Knoxville (a measley 4 hours northwest of Columbia) and met Mark and his lovely gf for some late supper. Because I didn't think we would be driving in until Tuesday morning, all of my appointments with UT were in the afternoon, so we all were able to sleep in! (ahhhhhhh). So around 2:00, I visited the bustling campus and another sand-colored cement building (which actually had nice sized windows...) for a few chats with faculty and grad students. UT also has a great program, so this will make my decision for the fall even more thought out.

Mom and I made the drive back to Nashville Tuesday night, and this weekend's itinery will be about the same as last's: visit two programs and ask lots of questions. Only this time, the programs are on the same campus! (I found out this past Saturday that I was admitted into the Center for the Studies of Southern Culture program at Ole Miss! yay!)

I will also be visiting friends in Jackson at Thomas' fraternity's alumni event, and I am looking forward to that immensely. See y'all in Mississipp-ay!

Friday, March 20, 2009

East Nashville

This should be the first of several posts to come about my 'hood: East Nashville. For the the out-of-towners, "East Nasty" is Nashville's famed district of hippies, new age junkies, baristas, and granolas (I use all of those words with the utmost compassion and respect, you commies). And it's been my sweet little home for the past 8 months! It's also infamous for being one of the poorest parts of town, unfortunately. But to lighten the mood, I've decided to post pictures of the house/neighborhood. I've been meaning to take more pictures to sort of photo-journal my time here, and so here are some of them!

This is a window in the kitchen that overlooks the back yard. It's about 7:00am here, and St. Patrick's Day.

I promise that it looks better when the living dead aren't coming out of some eerie fog.

Here is a nicer view of the neighborhood. Daffodils have been popping up like weeds around here! So I took a snapshot, or two, or...

While taking Bodhi for a walk, I stomped all over these little people!

If this drawing on the left represents how this little girl (I hope that's a correct assumption) sees her self-image, then that is a pretty cool little girl, I say. However, I cannot speak the same about the one on the right. This teeny bopper has been watching too much Britney Spears on MTV.

This photo is just hilarious. I don't even know what to call that. I'll start with no-neck Nancy.

A heart with 2 strands of hair framing it:

Remember when you used to spell "cool" with a "k?"

Hopefully I'll photo some more "kool" findings soon. Also--sorry about the weird formatting just now--that was unavoidable. I have to make a decision on grad schools tomorrow. Keep posted to see where I'm going next semester!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

7 1/2 down...

So this time I feel really special. I got a call from a professor at Ole Miss last night, and he told me that I was the "mac-mommy" of potential grad students. So now I have a tough decision to make! Ole Miss is giving me the best deal so far, but I'm definitely going to have to visit these schools to really make my mind up. Fun times!

I am totally flabbergasted by this whole thing for the following reasons:
1. I didn't get into Ole Miss last year. In fact, I faced a lot of defeat with my grad apps in '08, and I was pretty down on myself. But now, apparently, I'm being recruited by a grad school, which rarely happens to anyone. (freaking awesome).
2. I didn't get a letter. I got a freaking call. At 9:00pm on a Tuesday night.
3. I have to make the decision quickly (the deadline they gave me was April 1st), so I'm really doing some thorough, in-depth thinking about each school.

The "1/2" part of this whole thing comes from my potential admission into the other program at Ole Miss: Southern Studies. I haven't officially received anything from them, but I'm hoping to get in to that program--it sounds so neat!

Readers, do not misunderstand this post to think I'm complaining about these decisions! I have never felt more rewarded, grateful, and delightfully astonished than I do right now! Incredible.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

6 down...

I got a letter from Emory yesterday that began, "We regret to....". Ah, oh well! It seems to be a trend that the "Southern Ivy Leagues" that I applied to aren't accepting applications from people who have the same first and last initial (HAH!). Initialists.

Thomas and I proceeded to call them the "Southern Kudzu League" and "Southern Poison Ivy League" schools. Hey--that's your alma mater you're talking about, bud.

So now I'm waiting to hear from Georgia (who apparently already sent their letters out last week...geez!), Ole Miss (Southern Studies and English), and LSU. Tick, tock, tick, tock...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hello sports fans!

Here are the pictures (and video) from the Predators game that I promised. One of these days I'll post a "fight song" blog, since I've found most fight songs to be either really fun or really weird.

Here's the best picture from our view:

Sorry Davidson fans, but I didn't have enough battery on my camera to record the fight song (which was pretty ordinary, but I would have liked to record them singing/playing "Sweet Caroline" *bum bum bum*). Here are some pictures though:

This is the Davidson Wildcat. Sorry if I offend anyone, but I must say that this mascot fails to inspire any fear, power, intimidation, or any other competitive emotions. It looks like a catfish with buck teeth and cheek flaps that connect its whiskers! Mr. Wildcat inspired giggles if nothing else. If you look to the right of the catfish, you'll see what the shirt I caught looks like. (Yes, the man shooting shirts out of his giant powerade t-shirt cannon shot one straight at me!) On the back is the Powerade logo, and the size is XL. It comes down to my knees.

Curry shoots a free throw. He scored 43 points that game!

Here's Thomas with a Davidson basketball banner. They had one of each team in the Southern Conference, but seeing as we were there rooting for this one team, we didn't take pictures of the other banners.