Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Shoe books

The location, Fox Books. Children's literature section. A lovely blond woman, Kathleen Kelly,sits on a pint-sized chair. She is sad. A woman browsing nearby, stops a salesperson.

WOMAN SHOPPER: Excuse me, do you have the "Shoe" books?

SALESPERSON: The "Shoe" books? Umm...who is the author?

WOMAN SHOPPER: I don't know. My friend told me my daughter has to read the "Shoe" books, so here I am.

KATHLEEN: (turns around to face the woman and salesperson) Noel Streatfeild. Noel Streatfeild wrote Ballet Shoes and Skating Shoes and Theater Shoes and Movie Shoes....(she starts crying as she tells her). I'd start with Ballet Shoes, it's my favorite.

SALESPERSON: Streatfeild. How do you spell that?


Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild, is one of my favorite books of all time. The story of three sisters, Pauline, Petrova and Posy, each adopted under mysterious and heroic circumstances, their Great Uncle Matthew (also known as Gum) and their guardian, Sylvia.

I learned to read this book sitting on a kitchen chair in Cincinnati. I sat on a chair in the middle of kitchen and would read aloud to my mom or dad as they prepared meals. I can remember the exact moment I learned to read certain words. (Saliva, Dad?)

This book has been made into a film and we have the DVD from Netflix. While on the one hand, I am very excited to see this magical story come alive, I'm also hesitant to replace the memory built in my childhood's memory. What if it's all wrong? What if it's too different? I suppose when I go home for Christmas, I will re-read my falling apart hardcover version and build the story again. Maybe out loud in the middle of the kitchen, on the same chair I sat on when I was 8.

To watch or not to watch, that is the question.

(And Kathleen Kelly is right, all the "Shoe" books are completely wonderful. Every last one of them. But Ballet Shoes has always been my very favorite.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wishing you the happiest, gobbliest, turkiest, stuffingest, cranberriest Thanksgiving ever!!!

Those who are truly in the know will know the official name of this nail polish color

Last night, I sent a trio of my favorite ladies in New York out for spa pedicures. It was a big thank-you and I-love-you gift to them for all the loveliness they've brought to my life, especially over these most recent months. I've received glowing reports from each of them that they had a wonderful time together and I only wish I could have been there with them!! Had I been there, I would have had my toes painted this luscious color.

Happy Thanksgiving eve, loves!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sweet dreams

I am so tired that when I walked through the front door, I momentarily considered laying down on the doggie bed for a quick nap. I managed to stay upright long enough to reconsider, write this post and will now go collapse on the real person bed.

UPDATE: This is made funnier by the fact that Jessica did the same thing when she got home last night.

I'm thankful for the free time

I am so, so excited for this holiday break. We are driving (and driving and driving) to the sweetest little Mississippi town of Oxford to visit with our parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and newly-minted returned missionary grandparents. We are so excited to see them! I am also excited to study my face off, eat some delicious Thanksgiving treats, talk and laugh with my family, practice practice practice, shop the most amazing town square, find the perfect Christmas cards, sleep a ton, and hopefully see a good movie or two. (Do I have enough days off to accomplish all that?) On my current must-see list: Australia, Changeling, Four Christmases (could be awfully stupid but I think Reese will make fun), The Secret Life of Bees, Twilight and Quantum of Solace. I can't believe I haven't seen James Bond yet! I haven't seen much of anything except the inside of my books lately, and I'm excited to exhale, just a bit.

Because I like the validation

I am sitting with my math tutor, working through problems, and upon completing the set, I start to flip to the back of the book where the answer key lives. He stops me and asks, "Why do you want to check them? You know you did them right." (Which I know and he knows.) To which I reply, "Yes, I know I did, but I love to see it in print, in black and white, that I got the right answers. I like the validation."

Don't you? There is just something so awesomely awesome about getting every. single. answer. RIGHT. And then I write a big 100% at the top of my paper and next to it I put a lovely A+.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sometimes you want to sing the blues

I could bemoan the humidity. I could take issue with my job. I could rage about the ghost of a friendship past that haunted me all through my lunch hour. (Seriously, the most annoying laugh ever.) But that wouldn't be nice. Instead, I will simply say that I'm glad I was able to see The Nutcracker Friday night and am delighted that this year the USPS has created some adorable holiday stamps.

Friday, November 21, 2008

B is for Ballet

I love ballet. I love to watch it, but even more I love to dance ballet. I took ballet lessons for nearly 12 years, quit in a fury over a broken down body, and have regretted it every day since. I miss it so very much. I miss the grace and beauty it made me feel. I miss the exhileration of leaping across the room. I miss the extruciating torture of a slow developpe. I miss being on stage, dancing my heart out under the bright lights.

I miss ballet shoes. I miss the colors, that gorgeous peachy pink satin. This is the root of my complete adoration of all things pink. I miss the clean leathery gluey smell of new shoes. I miss the sweaty lambswooly smell of old shoes. I miss sewing on my ribbons. I miss scraping rosin across the cut up toe.

Tonight, I am attending a student ballet production, and while it's a far cry from The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet danced by New York City Ballet, ballet is ballet and for a balletomane like me, tonight will be a much-needed and long overdue fix.

Happy Friday!

I will be spending the bulk of my weekend at the library, sitting in a study carroll, shrouded in silence and huddled in a blanket trying to stay warm. Learning. And loving it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Service with a side of sobering

For the last three weeks, the youth group I volunteer with has been planning and putting together huge baskets of Thanksgiving food to give to people. The baskets ended up being incredible--huge turkeys, tons of food and treats. Literally, the baskets were overflowing. The kids got so into the project, writing recipe cards for some dishes that could be made from the ingredients and making festive cards to be put in the baskets. Last night was delivery night, which initially was a logistical nightmare but given our leader/youth ratio (nearly 3:1) we were able to create a workable schedule of delivery. Making the deliveries such as these is always fun but difficult; seeing other people's situations always tugs at my heart. But last night was really different. To start, after Google mapping our addresses, I realized that these homes were located in areas Jessica has previously warned me away from. (And while normally I do heed her advice pretty much 100% of the time, we felt compelled to complete the deliveries. But no, I do not plan to make a habit of this. I feel lucky that we were safe.) After getting lost (not a great moment, nearly resulted in a breakdown) in a neighborhood full of collapsed, moldering, Katrina-bruised houses, we found the address we were looking for. Wild cats were running all over the place, and several broken down cars sat abandoned in the dead-end road that served as the driveway. We were terrified. (Yes, there was a grown-up guy with us, but even he was nervous.) We surveyed from the car that someone was likely to be home, as there seemed to be some lamplight coming from the house. I called the phone number listed, but received no answer. We decided to make the delivery, and should no one answer the door, would leave the basket on the porch. Resolved, we marched quickly up to the door, and after a glance of hesitation between us, knocked on the door. A woman's terrified voice could be heard from the inside, "Benji, get back!" before her scared voice called out to us, "Who's there?" We answered that we were from the church and had a Thanksgiving delivery for her. She came to the door, and I was shocked to see that she was a young and pretty white woman. She looked incredibly relieved and said that no one ever came to her door, let alone at night, for anything but trouble. She asked who we were, and we explained that we had put together a basket of Thanksgiving food for her. She looked overjoyed and called out to her son to come look. An adorable 2 year old came peeking out from behind the door and was as happy about the basket of food as his mother. She thanked us profusely and then urged us to leave, warning us to be careful and wishing us safety. It wasn't until we were in the car that we realized that as we were rushing to safety, this woman and her son stayed and would continue to live in a broken down home in the neighborhood she only moments ago had warned us away from. We wondered what her life must be like and what her circumstances were. We may never know but I know that as we drove away from that home, my heart hurt leaving this woman and her child there. I know that none of the heartache and pain and fear I've experienced in my life comes close to what this woman must face on a daily basis. I know that I am incredibly blessed and so lucky.

Living in New Orleans has changed me. Down here, you see things like what I've described on a near-daily basis. And instead of becoming immune to it, you become more sensitive to it. You see firsthand the things that drive people to behave in ways you previously didn't understand. You see things that divide people from one another. You literally start to, perhaps not walk a mile in another's shoes, but at least stand in their shoes for a brief moment. And the world, taken from that perspective, is a different place.

Turkeys and Gossip Girl and stuffing, oh my

Let the cooking marathon begin! I just realized that my company Thanksgiving pot luck is this Friday, which means that I need to find a suitably scrumptious yet extrememly low-maintenance dish to bring.

It is also Thanksgiving time on Gossip Girl, and the latest episode was full of tasty treats for us viewers. The picnic basket pumpkin pie was so very sweet and the hints of Britney Spears's "I'm a Slave 4 U" were hilarious. Make yourself some mashed potatoes and stuffing and then read the Daily Intel's snark fest here . Stovetop chicken flavor is the best, and we've been eating it for Sunday dinner for weeks. Don't judge. It's delicious!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Say it isn't so!

Rumors have been swirling for months that Anna Wintour is on her way out of the top job at Vogue. This news tidbit, while not confirming anything, is the most concrete bit of information regarding her situation. Making lists of possible replacements has become something of a sport, with a few names bandied about with such regularity that it makes one wonder if there is validity to the claims. Where there's smoke....but I hope this isn't true. I'll stand up and say it: I'm just the teeniest bit (totally) obsessed with her. She's a lady and fabulous and fought for what she has, all the while being impeccably dressed and coiffed. They don't call her La Bob for nothing. (She was also a huge inspiration to me in the decision to create a new do. Oh, you didn't know? Yes, I chopped off all my hair and it's straight now. And it's fabulous.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oh well

Today I ate a sandwich, and I have to be was kind of a let down. I've been fantasizing about this sandwich for a good two weeks and it just wasn't as delicious as I remembered it to be. Especially the yummy bready bagely part of the sandwich. It just left me so unsatisfied. I guess the good news is that it shouldn't be at all difficult to climb back on the DK bandwagon tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Half empty or half full?

My can of Diet Coke is half full. Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Together we can do it

All my hard work is starting to pay off. Yesterday I scored my very first 100%!!!! On the math section!!! It was so awesome!! I could feel my inner Hermione Granger coming alive.

And now she and I want 100%'s all the time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank you!

Last night, Jessica and I had the opportunity to go to dinner with three amazing women. We had such a lovely time talking and laughing together. I love when I meet women who are smart and successful and wise and kind and with it.

The meal was amazing as well. I started off with grilled brie cheese sandwich made with thick brioche bread, served with apple slices and honey apple butter, followed by mustard-crusted salmon served on a bed of lemon and lump crab orzo, topped off with a bite of satsuma-soaked lemon ice curd. Insanely delicious.

We are back to food reality today, but Katina, thank you so very much!!
Picture from cindymindypindy etsy shop

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Tonight, Jessica and I are going all out, dressing up in our loveliest duds and going out to a fancy dinner with a friend. Then we'll digest while watching tonight's season premiere episode of Top Chef! A night of culinary masterpieces!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just because I miss ya

Today I sent a bunch of presents up north to some lucky and un-suspecting friends! I feel like a Fairy Godmother!
I hope you enjoy them!!

All the colors of happiness

A HUGE congratulations to my dear friends Jessica and Kevin who just got engaged!!! I am so happy for you both!

Miss Jessica has exquisite taste and I can't wait to see what sorts of beauty she creates for her wedding day. The picture above hints at her gorgeous color scheme.

October, 2009, here we come!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Facts on the outcome of Prop 8

I do not live in California, so I did not have the opportunity to vote for or against Proposition 8. But even those of us who are far away feel the effects of the angry backlash. This article from the L.A. Times highlights some of the frightening persecution the church is facing in the aftermath of the vote.

A blogging friend put together some important facts to keep in mind:

  1. Mormons make up less than 2% of the population of California. There are approximately 800,000 LDS out of a total population of approximately 34 million.
  2. Mormon voters were less than 5% of the yes vote. If one estimates that 250,000 LDS are registered voters (the rest being children), then LDS voters made up 4.6% of the Yes vote and 2.4% of the total Proposition 8 vote.
  3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) donated no money to the Yes on 8 campaign. Individual members of the Church were encouraged to support the Yes on 8 efforts and, exercising their constitutional right to free speech, donated whatever they felt like donating.
  4. The No on 8 campaign raised more money than the Yes on 8 campaign. Unofficial estimates put No on 8 at $38 million and Yes on 8 at $32 million, making it the most expensive non-presidential election in the country.
  5. Advertising messages for the Yes on 8 campaign are based on case law and real-life situations. The No on 8 supporters have insisted that the Yes on 8 messaging is based on lies. Every Yes on 8 claim is supported.
  6. Los Angeles County voted in favor of Yes on 8. Ventura County voted in favor of Yes on 8.
  7. African Americans overwhelmingly supported Yes on 8. Exit polls show that 70% of Black voters chose Yes on 8. This was interesting because the majority of these voters voted for President-elect Obama. No on 8 supporters had assumed that Obama voters would vote No on 8.
  8. The majority of Latino voters voted Yes on 8. Exit polls show that the majority of Latinos supported Yes on 8 and cited religious beliefs (assumed to be primarily Catholic).
  9. The Yes on 8 coalition was a broad spectrum of religious organizations. Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, Muslims – all supported Yes on 8. It is estimated that there are 10 million Catholics and 10 million Protestants in California. Mormons were a tiny fraction of the population represented by Yes on 8 coalition members.
  10. Not all Mormons voted in favor of Proposition 8. Our faith accords that each person be allowed to choose for him or her self. Church leaders have asked members to treat other members with "civility, respect and love," despite their differing views.
  11. The Church did not violate the principal of separation of church and state. This principle is derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." The phrase "separation of church and state", which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, although it has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court in recent years. The LDS Church is under no obligation to refrain from participating in the political process, to the extent permitted by law. U.S. election law is very clear that Churches may not endorse candidates, but may support issues. The Church has always been very careful on this matter and occasionally (not often) chooses to support causes that it feels to be of a moral nature.
  12. Supporters of Proposition 8 did exactly what the Constitution provides for all citizens: they exercised their First Amendment rights to speak out on an issue that concerned them, make contributions to a cause that they support, and then vote in the regular electoral process. For the most part, this seems to have been done in an open, fair, and civil way. Opponents of 8 have accused supporters of being bigots, liars, and worse. The fact is, they simply did what Americans do – they spoke up, they campaigned, and they voted for what they believed in.

    I do have deep sympathy for those who are outraged over the changes being made and whose lives are affected. However, I am saddened and disturbed by the methods of protest and malicious behavior exhibited in these days following the election. My thoughts and prayers are with those who are experiencing this persecution first hand.

    Friday, November 7, 2008

    Happy Weekend!

    Although I'm sure that tonight will be a bit quieter than last Friday (it being Halloween and all-crawling home and into bed at 4:00AM doesn't happen every Friday) I am sure that we'll manage to rustle up something fun.

    Happy weekend everyone!

    Grey's moment

    I cried my face off during last night's episode. "Rosie? Rosie??" may need to go down along with "Stella!!" as an all-time heart-rending cry.

    Oh, Christina Yang. Be still my heart. It's impossible to point to one specific best moment with her. Between "I see dead people!" and her storytelling with Dr. Hunt and her laughing at Mark Sloan....that girl has got it and I love her.

    Lexie is Queen of the Interns. She is clever, thoughtful and so very earnest. George worked his buns off to save Stan the robot. It was fun to see Richard cutting loose like that (even if it was at George's expense).

    And Hahn. What a rock star she was in this episode. Brooke Smith gave a virtuoso performance last night. It's so tragic that they cut her loose, because as last night demonstrated, she brought so much more to the show than just a lesbian relationship. She and Callie could totally have broken up last night, and the producers and writers could easily have spun several story lines out of the aftermath. And I really wanted to see what happened between her and Izzy.

    And Izzy is......actually seeing dead people. (Is it just me or did she not promise Alex less than 3 episodes ago that she wasn't going to go bananas on him? And now she is. Poor Alex.) Although it's never a bad thing to see Denny. He's dreamy.

    Read the nice and lengthy writer's blog here!

    Memories of one another

    When I was a little girl, we lived in North Carolina. One day my dad took me for a walk to the store. The store was at the end of a long road and down a big hill. (Or so it seemed to my tiny, 4-year-old self.) On the way there, my dad taught me what a pending rainstorm smells like. The sky was a great greeney yellow blue color. And there was this smell. Pungeant. Earthy. Rainy.

    After our visit at the store, where I can vividly remember wanting you to buy some Fruit Loops for me (which you didn't) we walked back outside. And you distracted me by pointing out that it still smelled like rain. I can't remember whether or not we made it home before the downpour, but everytime it rains, I always, always remember you teaching me what rain smells like.

    Last night, it rained. And I smelled that smell. And it made me think of you. It always does.
    I love you, Dad.

    Thursday, November 6, 2008

    Just because it is so pretty

    Tonight we say goodbye

    To Dr. Erica Hahn. Read actress Brooke Smith's interview here. While I am not a huge fan of the Erica/Callie relationship, I have to say that I really do like Erica's character. She is a tough, hard-working, strong woman who has worked hard to get to the top of her field. She can compete with the boys and isn't afraid to express herself. I also feel that her character has shown new dimensions this season, especially with her teaching componant. One of my favorite scenes so far this year was when she humbly went to Richard and asked what her shortcomings were and how she could be better.

    Grey's creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes has put out a statement that "Brooke Smith was obviously not fired for playing a lesbian. Sara Ramirez is an incredible comedic and dramatic actress and we wanted to be able to play up her magic. Unfortunately, we did not find that the magic and chemistry with Brooke's character would sustain in the long run. The impact of the Callie/Erica relationship will be felt and played out in a story for Callie."

    There are lots of rumers swirling about who ultimately made the decision to remove Dr. Hahn's character and why. It makes me sad that such a great character and actress are being dismissed. I wish Brooke the best of luck!

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008


    Before Christmas comes Thanksgiving, another holiday I love.

    Last night, for our Young Women's activity, we started planning the Thanksgiving baskets we will be distributing to the members of the branch who are in need. We had so much fun. Our branch has 2 YW and three girls (sisters) who are investigating. I just love them and the energy and fun they bring to the group. Combined with the 3 YM and their leaders, we were quite the crew to get this task started.

    First, we brainstormed for ideas of items to include in the baskets. This was definitely the first time I've heard "pecan pie" shouted out before "pumpkin pie"! It was fun to hear what each family's traditions are. Tater tot cassarole was also a hot item. Something to look into...

    After brainstorming, we created the lists. We tried to get the kids involved with helping figure out how many of each item we needed for each family, depending on the family size. Then just for fun, we decided to split the list into 2, and challenged the YM to a race at the grocery store to see who could collect all the items from the list first.

    I drove my girls to the store in Somerset (my first time driving anyone except Jessica!) and I'm so pleased to say that we arrived safely in one piece. I think I'm really a good driver now. (Mother, stop laughing.) We strategized on the way over the fastest way to gather our items, and then once both teams were inside, scattered and began the hunt.

    Both teams collected everything in record time, and for a grand total of $215 we incredibly got all the items on our list for 10 families!!! (Except for the turkeys--they are being donated from the Storehouse. So great!) I was so happy that all the kids had fun. They are so excited to put together the baskets next week and deliver them. Their excitement is infectious. I love the time I get to spend with them and always feel great after our activities.

    It's November 5

    Which means that it's absolutely time to start talking Christmas. Sunday afternoon I switched over all my ringtones to Christmas carols. Please call!! You know how much I love my Christmas music (and your phone calls!).

    The radios have started to play Christmas jingles every now and then, and commercials are running on the TV. Sam's Club kind of feels like Santa exploded all over and Target is full of red and white goodness.

    I've started my Christmas shopping (don't you wish you could know what darling things I've purchased for you?) and am on the hunt for the perfect Christmas cards. And while there is much to miss in a New York Christmas, people down here take their holidays very seriously and the little bits of decorations and goodies I've come across so far have me very excited for what's to come.

    President Barack Obama

    Congratulations to our new President, Barack Obama.

    Last night's election was historic and exciting. I believe President Obama is a smart, hard-working, kind man. I believe he loves his family and his country. I believe he has the ability to inspire millions of people to hope and dream for a better future. I sincerely hope that he can provide a way for America out of these dark times and lead us into a brighter, more hopeful future. I hope he keeps us safe. I hope that he can live up to the insanely high expectations that have been set for him. I hope he leads all the American people, not just the ones who got him elected.

    I appreciated when he said last night that "getting elected" is not the point. It is not enough-now we will have to work hard and work together to make change happen. I hope that every single person cheering for him last night recognizes that change means working hard. I hope everyone is prepared to be a part of that change. I believe that he will do his best to be honest with Americans. He is incredibly steady and calm, traits that I admire very much. He has demonstrated leadership in his campaign and I hope with all my heart that he will prove to be a president of great leadership. America needs a leader that we can believe in and get in line behind and follow. I hope President Obama is that man and I hope that we, the American people, will do our part to support not only his presidency but one another.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    But you're perfect!

    Last night's episode of Gossip Girl was fun and fantastic.

    Let's hear a big "Awww" for Nate and Little J. So sad that it couldn't last. Love Chuck and Blair so, so much. Ew to Cecil/Aaron and his dirty hair and Agnes. I feel like Agnes is going to be trouble. Bart Bass looked awfully funny at the benefit and Lily's hair was...special. Read the Daily Intel's snarkometer here.

    November 4

    Make sure you vote today! As I walked to work this morning, past a few polling centers, I was amazed to see how many people were lined up (lines out the doors!), patiently waiting for thier turn to vote. I think it's very impressive how involved the public has been with this election. (Or maybe everyone's always been involved, but I never was before, and so I'm just noticing it now. So I'm proud of myself for educating myself and learning about the candidates and participating in democracy.) I'm sure that whoever gets elected today will do a good job leading America for the next 4 years. And I'm excited, because no matter what happens today, history will be made and barriers will be shattered. That is a wonderful thing.

    Monday, November 3, 2008

    Let me set the scene for you:

    Our kitchen.
    Someone vomiting in the sink.
    Must be the first day of David Kirsch boot camp.