Friday, October 29, 2010

Song I'm Digging This Week

"The Absence of Your Company" by Kim Richey

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Self Realization #4

I really don't like Marie Osmond. At all.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's a Twista! A Twista!

Yesterday, everyone at work was sent home early because tornados were predicted. Honestly, I wasn't concerned (tornado warnings seem to occur as often as it rains here) - in fact, I was kind of psyched that I now had an entire afternoon and evening all to myself.

Everything was cool until about 4:00, when Ashleigh called to tell me she had seen a wall cloud on her way home from work (she got sent home early, too). She was telling me about it when all of a sudden she paused and turned up her radio. I heard the weather-guy practically yelling "It's moving at 86 miles per hour! There's rotation! There's rotation! It's heading down Drake...heading down Airport!"

I live off Airport.

Ashleigh yelled "It's right where you are!"

I said "Ok, going," hung up the phone, turned the tv up full blast so I could hear it from downstairs, grabbed Gilbert, and hoofed it into the stairwell below my apartment. Gilbert was not happy.

About 30 seconds after I sat down in the stairwell, everything went dark outside and rain began coming down in sheets. I could see the trees bending and straining and I thought "Um...this could be bad. This could be really...bad." Gilbert even stopped squirming, and I swear, he looked up at me as if to say "Oooook...I am not liking this. At. All."

It didn't help my state of mind to know that the apartment complex I live in was completely decimated 21 years a tornado.

Just when I started to inwardly panic just a little bit and had decided that I might have to break down the door of the first floor apartment to my left so I could huddle in their bathtub, it all stopped. The sun came out. To quote one of my favorite movies, "The Neverending Story," it was "like The Nothing never was."

I have to say - I'm still a little shaken up. You never think that it could literally happen to you, but it hit me yesterday that that's what everyone thinks. They're probably thinking that right before they die, be it in a car accident, freak fall, or even a tornado.

So. I'm going to be a little better prepared next time. I'm heading somewhere with a basement.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Yesterday, I asked a student who has taken more than a year of piano from me to tell me what a certain note was in her music. I tapped her song with my pencil and said "Ok, Akiyah - if this note before it is a D, what do you think this note is?"

Her answer?


I paused. "No...we don't have 'O's' in music, do we? Try again."

She thought really hard. "I have it. It's an 'L'."

Maybe I should rethink my vocation.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Book #28: Gods in Alabama

Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

When Arelene Fleet leaves Possett, Alabama, she promises God three things:

1)She will never fornicate again.

2)She will never tell a lie.

3)She will never, ever go back to Alabama.

She vows she'll do all these things, if God will keep His end of the deal - never let anyone find Jim Beverly's body.

Nine years later, a girl from Arlene's past shows up on her doorstep in Chicago and the deal is off. Arlene is forced to return to Alabama and her dysfunctional family in order to keep her huge secret.

I normally don't read Southern authors (being from the South, I feel I pretty much know all I need to know about good old Southern customs, thank you very much), but this book wasn't all "y'all" this and "cain't" that. It was a good mystery, and now I want to read more of Jackson's work. My only gripe is that I don't know any people close to my age named Arlene, Clarice, Jim, Rose Mae, or Ray. Not all Southerners choose their children's names from Gone with the Wind.

Book #27: Shopaholic and Baby

Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella

Sigh. I just love these books. No deep thinking required, and they never, ever fail to make me laugh out loud.

In this installment, Becky is pregnant with her and Luke's first child, and of course, she manages to mess up a bunch of stuff, and of course, it all turns out alright in the end. As predictable as this series is, I get super excited when a new book is published.

Book #26: Best Friends Forever

Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

When I was in seventh grade, my so-called best friend wrote me a long letter telling me that she no longer wanted to be my friend. Her reason? I wasn't cool enough. She had found someone cooler. And that was that. Afterwards, she proceeded to make middle school unbearable for me - making fun of me in front of everybody else, spreading rumors about me, etc..*

This book tells the story of Addie and Valerie, best friends since third grade. When they're both in high school, Valerie betrays Addie in a monumental way and they part ways, seemingly forever. 18 years later, Valerie shows up on Addie's door, begging for help. She's convinced she's killed one of their classmates.

The story that follows is an amazing tale of forgiveness and friendship re-born. I don't know if I could have moved past the high school betrayal, but I'd like to think I could. In keeping with Weiner's other books (Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, etc.), the protagonists are likeable and believable.

*This girl came to see me a few years ago. She had fallen on extremely hard times, and all the rage melted away from me when I realized that she was just a pitiful person looking for forgiveness. I also realized that who we are in middle school is, nine times out of ten, nowhere near the person we turn out to be as an adult. Thank God. I wore stone-washed jeans and pink glasses.

Book #25: My Name Is Memory

My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares

*Maybe I should retitle my blog "That's What She Read," because I realize that I'm posting a zillion book-related posts today, but I have a backlog because I've been extremely lazy with my posting duties. Sorry.*

I never read the Traveling Pants series, so this is the first book I've read by Brashares. The premise of the story is that reincarnation is a fact (which of course I don't hold with, but it made for a really cool story), and most people have absolutely no memories of their former lives. There are a very few people in the world who do, and the main character of the book, Daniel, is one of them. Every life, he finds and falls in love with the same girl - Sophia. Unfortunately, Sophia never remembers her past life with Daniel, and he has to make her fall in love with him all over again. Sophia always vows that she will try to remember, but she never does.

At the beginning of this current life, Daniel once again finds Sophia (now named Lucy) living in Virginia, and finds that she does have some memories of their past lives and love. He is ecstatic, but soon realizes that they have a shared enemy from their past - someone else who remembers all of his lives, and has sworn revenge upon both Daniel and Sophia.

Drama ensues.

I really did like this book, but when I reached the end I realized that Brashares hadn't resolved at least 40% of the plot. I was supremely annoyed until I read that this is going to be part of a trilogy. I can handle that.

The story got a little too syrupy lovey-dovey at some points, but all in all, I really did like it.

Book #24: Going Home

Going Home by Harriet Evans

Yep. Another Harriet Evans gem.

This story starts at Christmas (my very favorite holiday), and a girl going home for the holiday weekend. Unlike other Evans books, Going Home really fleshes out the dynamics of an entire family and the idea that maybe the old saying "home is a nice place to visit" isn't entirely true - maybe you really can go home again.

After I had finished reading this book, I wanted to go spend a few days at my parents' house and sleep in my old room. Unfortunately, it has since been converted into a computer/John Denver and Gordon Lightfoot shrine (I'm so not kidding), so I had to settle with calling my parents and having a good chat.

Book #23: The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Sometimes I wish I could be like some of the other great bloggers that I follow and read really "deep" books, but honestly - I prefer a good novel over most anything else.

Erik Larson writes nonfiction as if it was fiction. I get totally caught up in the real-life characters, and have to restrain myself from Wikipedia-ing the actual events so I don't spoil the rest of the book. The Devil in the White City focuses on the story of how the amazing Chicago's World Fair came about and ties it to America's first real documented serial killer, Dr. H. H. Holmes (and man, oh man - he makes Ted Bundy look like a pansy). I was hooked from the first chapter.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Andy Stanley, a Gatorade Bottle, and My Dad

This past weekend, I attended the Catalyst conference in Atlanta. Catalyst is a Christian leadership conference (have I ever mentioned that I work at a church?) headed up by my married-man preacher crush, Andy Stanley, and it truly is one of my very favorite events of the year. Most of the time I attend with some fellow ministers and church employees, but this year, everyone except me ended up backing out at the last minute.

No biggie. But I am a single lady (whoop whoop, Beyonce), and it IS Atlanta, so I wasn't all that keen on going there by myself. Which is where my bright idea happened:

I asked my Dad (who pastors a church in Alabama) to come with me.

I picked him up at my parents' house on Wednesday night, and we drove the two hours to Atlanta together. I have to hand it to him - he let me sing along to Imogen Heap, Band of Horses, Iron & Wine, and William Fitzsimmons (ok, and maybe lots of "Glee" songs...) all the way there and didn't leave my car supremely depressed.

We got to our hotel around 11 PM Georgia time, and checked in to our hotel room. Yep. One room. We had decided to save some money and stay in one room. Ok. Let it be said that I haven't shared a hotel room with either one of my parents since about tenth grade, but I wasn't that worried. I chose the bed by the a/c since Dad gets a sore throat pretty easily. He got me to watch an episode of "NCIS" (not too bad) and I forced him to watch some "LA Ink." He at least pretended to not be horrified when a he-she arrived at High Voltage asking for a full-back tattoo of a stripper (at which point he looked at me with concern and said " wouldn't...ever do THAT, would you...?" I just gave him a withering "do-you-know-me-at-ALL?" look).

We turned off the lights at about 1 AM, and Dad immediately fell asleep. At first, he was doing this little cute "puff puff" of air breathing, and I thought "Well, that's not so bad." While he was puffing away, I realized that I could clearly hear the tinkling lobby music from downstairs. I had just realized that they were playing a bar piano version of "Hit Me Baby, One More Time" when Dad's puffing turned into a death rattle snore. There was no buildup. Just full on potential death noises.

I actually sat up to look at him just to make sure that he wasn't swallowing his tongue or something. But, no. He even had a slight smile on his face.

I finally drifted off to sleep around 5 AM, just in time for the alarm to wake me up at 5:45. By that point, Dad sat up, stretched like a Folgers coffee commercial star, and went to shave. I, on the other hand, when it was my turn, moved like a zombie.

The first day of the conference was completely amazing. The music was great, the speakers were fantastic, and I got choked up about a zillion times. Afterwards, Dad and I went to dinner and had a really wonderful conversation about church, God, loving God, loving other people, books, etc. It's always wonderful to realize that you actually like your parents - not just because they're your parents, but because they're truly likable and interesting people.

I slept like a rock the second night, snoring or no snoring, and we headed back for the second day of the conference. We ended up sitting by a girl with a Gatorade bottle.

Ok. I've mentioned several times that I can't stand to hear people eating loudly. It drives me nuts. I've also mentioned that my dad and I share a frustration with people who distract us at the movies, etc. After she downed her Gatorade, this chick just kept squeezing her bottle.

Pop. Pop. POP. Crack. Swoosh. Pop. Pop. CRACK!

No one else seemed to notice. I was starting to feel panicked, because I could not concentrate on T.D. Jakes at all. All I could hear was the bottle. My dad was actually sitting right next to her, and I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye. He was rocking back and forth just slightly, which meant he definitely heard it.

Suddenly, he leaned over to the girl and said in his kindest, pastoral tone "Honey? Could you stop that? It's completely irritating."

Part of me was relieved he'd finally gotten her to stop, but part of me wanted to sink through the floor. Oh, well. Like daughter, like father. (However, she got her revenge - about a minute later, she began to methodically rip the label off the bottle, all the while giving my dad the Stink Eye.)

Both Dad and I left the conference totally rejuvenated and ready to write bestselling Christian books and/or praise and worship music. We'll see. I'm definitely going again next year, and I hope my dad goes with me. He's a great conference buddy.

I'll just make sure to bring earplugs next time.

Book #22: A Hopeless Romantic

A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans

I think it's safe to say I'm a total Harriet Evans convert. I've been devouring all her books (all except The Love of Her Life, which I found a bit treacly), and I think she's a fabulous writer. She has a great knack for writing characters that behave and speak like actual people - complete with stutters and random trains of thought.

This story centers on a girl who has a habit of falling in love way too fast and always with the wrong guy. After a disastrous end to a relationship, she decides to swear men off completely and, in her words, become Mrs. Danvers from her favorite book, Rebecca - solid, dependable, and...boring. When she actually meets Mr. Right, she's too scared that he'll end up being just like all of her former boyfriends, that she risks losing him altogether.

This is a perfect vacation read (or doctor's waiting room, cafe, etc.).