thirty-fourth new thing...

my love for carly smithson is well documented in this journal and in several of the new things i have already accomplished. also well documented in this year long journey, my love of concerts. for the thirty-fourth new thing, i found a way to combine these two loves (you got peanut butter in my chocolate! you got chocolate in my peanut butter!) into one awesome (slightly unrealized) new thing. so, for the most recent installment of the 52 new things, i attended my first concert meet and greet.

as the AI tour progressed, word got out that the idols were signing autographs for those waiting at the venues. with each successive city, more and more fans began lining up outside the venues waiting for the idols to arrive. the stop here at the gwinnett center was a full month and 20+ shows after my previous idol show experience in san diego. when i showed up at 9AM (yes, that's right, 9AM for a show that stared at 8PM) there were already several people milling about. so i did the most natural thing, i found the people who looked the nicest and the most like they knew what they were doing and latched on for dear life. it just so happened that they all happened to be archie fans. (go pork chop!)

we were all excited and chatty (very uncommon for me), extolling the virtues of our chosen idols with each other. i received condolences for carly's early ouster (damn straight 6th lace was too soon!) and i sang archie's praises from my previous experience in SD. and of course we all came bearing gifts. i had a lovely wrapped hardback version of rilke's "letters to a young poet" that i mentioned in my fan letter and a half gallon of the beacon's world famous iced tea. and my famous carly sign, all the way from my living room to the california coast and back again.

i enjoyed my day with the archie fans and the dreadheads and the cookies. we hung signs and as the time passed got more and more excited about the prospects of chatting with the people we had been voting for on tuesday nights less than 6 months before. one o'clock came and went. two o'clock came and went. and then, before three, we received the bad news. no signings before the show because the idols would be filming a satellite interview from the venue with larry king during that time (you bastard!). the gifts would be delivered and we could watch the interview from outside, but no meeting and no greeting.

and so ended my attempt to meet carly. but i did make some fun new friends in the process. and i had killer seats to witness, yet again, the best voice from american idol ever.


thirty-third new thing...

this new thing represents one of the more important of all the fifty-two new things. not because it took a lot of planning. or time. or money. or even effort. this new thing allowed me to return to one of my favorite eateries in one of my favorite towns for the first time in three years. and i couldn't have done it without by buddy lisa. so i start this discussion of the thirty-third new thing with a shout out to the best chaperon a girl could ever have. thanks lis for keeping me in check and keeping it in perspective. for my thirty-third new thing, i went back to the beacon in beautiful spartanburg, south carolina and had sweet tea for the first time.

ahhh, the beacon. the scene of some of my fondest memories of my times in the palmetto state. isn't it funny how sometimes you remember certain events and places in rose-tinted ways? well, that's how i remember most of my time in spartanburg. don't get me wrong, it's a lovely place, with a quaint small town college feel. through no fault of its own, it became this touch point of some things i needed to let go of but couldn't. so i new this year i needed to make some new memories, without the baggage.

enter my memories of the best double cheeseburgers a-plenty in the south. and the sweet tea. i had heard much praise around the beacon's sweet tea, but, i myself, have never been an iced tea drinker. now, hot tea and i go way back. iced tea, not so much. i remember joking with my parents back in the day that i must have been adopted because i didn't like sweet tea, john wayne or war movies. now, i have learned to love big jake, i can fake my way through a war movie (especially if you put kate beckinsale in it), but iced tea and i had yet to see eye to eye. so, i figured it was time to cross that final hurdle. and what better way than with the world-famous beacon variety.

lis and i arrived at the beacon full of excitement but with empty bellies. after a quick perusal of the menu we started the ordering process, answer the command to "caaaallllll it" before walking and talking down the line. while the hamburger was way bigger than i remembered, the onion rings were way limper than i remember, and the old man wait staff was way flirtier than i remember, the iced tea ended up being a bit of let down. but c'est la vie. at least now i know.

after a quick stop at the barnes & noble (site of the worst. parking job. ever.), lisa and i headed back towards home. but not before making a quick stop at a rising public comprehensive college in the upstate. after breaking into the football stadium to take some pictures (and almost getting locked in the football stadium as a result) we left south carolina behind. with a souvenir of a half gallon of iced tea and some new, non-baggagey memories.

thirty-second new thing...

ok. let's blow through a couple of these. no long winded exposition needed. for this new thing, i took advantage of a once-every-four-years event and advancements in technology. for my thirty-second new thing, i watched three new olympic sports.

the 2008 summer olympics may have been ruled by this dude, but for me, the games have always been about the obscure sports that we otherwise never get to see. so this year i decided to make a concerted effort to at least try and follow sports i had never seen before. with the time change between the east coast of the US and the east coast of the far east, that took some finessing. nothing like a handball match with no commentary on my laptop at 2AM. good times.

speaking of handball, i followed team norway through to their gold medal victory over reigning world champion russia. i'm not gonna lie, i started watching handball for these girls, but i stayed for the sport. these women are nuts! tackling each other, hurtling a hand-sized bouncy ball at a small net, flying through the air like a sugar glider. crazy. i still don't really understand the fouls, but i do understand passion. congrats gro.

next on the list was rowing, specifically the women's eight medal race. team USA pulled this one out by just over 2 seconds and there was much celebrating-- hugging and smooching included-- in response. uhmm, traditionally i don't think of rowers as hot, but i might have to reconsider my previous conclusions.

finally was one of my favorite new finds, women's sabre. and this year was a good year for the home team. the USA swept all three medals in this event. while my girl sada jacobson (woot! dunwoody!) only took home a silver, i will definitely be watching more fencing in the future. in fact, i might be taking classes. now that would be an interesting new thing. looking forward to vancouver in 2010.

thirty-first new thing...

as they say, it's beginning to look a lot like christmas. i don't know if i will be able to catch up on all my blog entries before the end of 2008 melts in to the beginning of 2009, but i figured it's time to start trying. so let's go back, way back to end of july (eeekkk! that's a long time ago) where we will find the next new thing hanging out in the bluegrass state. for my thirty-first new thing, i went on my first business trip.

as part of my job, i often assist our president and vice presidents prepare for presentations on various and sundry education topics in one of our member states. this go round, the prez was prepping a presentation on the education pipeline in kentucky for the statewide business organization. now, our fair leader has been around the
 hallowed halls of academe for some years, with much practical experience to show for it. but try to get the man to make a powerpoint and it's like he becomes the first part of an idiot savant.

as the week of prepping wore on, the guy became more concerned about his ability to run a 20 minute, 12 slide presentation alone. so at the 11th hour it was decided i would accompany him to, well, basically press a button every 2 or 3 minutes. sweet!

welcome to louisville! and the view from my comped hotel room. i arrived on a tuesday afternoon, reviewed the presentation for about 20 minutes with my boss, enjoyed a free dinner in the hotel sports bar (honestly, drinking beer and eating chicken fingers with the guy who can fire you "at will" is a little awkward...but i can't say no to chicken fingers. or beer.) and then was on my own until the next morning. so i called up my dear friend bec and met her and her fiance (now husband! my how the time flies...) for chips and salsa at the local mexican place. bec came up to the hotel room for a little bit after we dropped then-fiance, now-hubby brad off for his overnight ER rotation so we could talk about the proposal and the wedding...both super low-key, just like her. it was good times.

the next morning, i arrived down stairs in time for a bagel and coffee before sitting with the tech guys (word of advice: always make friends with the computer/tech guys if you use any type of technology for your job. if they like you, things are more likely to run smoothly) at the front of the room so that i could, well, really just press a button. behold, the clicker...

so apparently, bill gates uses the same device. and the laser pointer works from a mile away. i wonder who in the world decided to figure that out? the presentation went off without a hitch, i patroned the hotel sports bar yet again (apparently i can't say no to sliders either) before heading to the airport and then making my way back to the atl. it was a whirl wind trip and i missed the roo (shout out to curt for staying with the pup overnight on such short notice), but i got my name on a presentation and i might be asked to be a companion button pusher yet again. 


new things update...

hello there. it's been a long time and i have been a bad blogger. but i have not been a bad new thinger. even though i haven't updated you all in a few weeks (*cough* ten weeks *cough*), i have still been doing one new thing a week. and i promise to do some updating soon. i have some great things to talk about (i accomplished another of the "original" new things a couple weeks ago. i'll give you a hint, it involves some rather embarrassing fumbling.), so hang in there. there are only 5 weeks left...


thirtieth new thing...

there seems to be a trend throughout a lot of these new things. and that theme is art. of any kind. of different kinds. movies. music. and now, theatre. for the thirtieth of the 52 new things (ahhhhh, thirty! this is it?!? this is the last day? help me!! help me!), i attended my first shakspeare play.

and not just any production of a shakespeare play. no, that would be too easy. i went to a production of as you like it set in the turbulent 60's. yes, a story about how a girl-- disguised as a boy-- taught the object of her affection (one of my favorite movies) how to woo the object of his affection while not realizing that the boy helping him woo said girl was actually the girl he was wooing all while the turbulent protesting free-love 60s was spinning around them. i guess that is why they call it a "gender bending" comedy of eros. but really the entire event was sort of a comedy of errors.

curt and i arrived at ogelthorpe university, home of the georgia shakespeare festival about 10 minutes before show time. i had a coupon (yes, i am a spendthrift) for 20% off. little did i know that was for the $40 tickets. we elected to go with the cheap seats (for $15 there isn't a theatre big enough in the world that would put us too far away) and while ringing us up the ticket lady (who was cute and crafty...she almost got us to buy $50 worth of tickets when $30 would do) said that the showing was selling slow so we were eligible for a free upgrade (sweet!) to the lower level back row. giddy with our good fortune we headed into the theatre where we were promptly cornered by some officially looking guy with one of those radio transmitter things in his ears. he informed us that we were eligible for an upgrade (wait, another upgrade! seriously?) and we wound up in the third row. yes. the third row! seriously!

the production itself was quite enjoyable. it did take me about 15 minutes before i could follow the shakespeare-speak but by the middle of the first act i was laughing at the jokes and contemplating the right lines of the soliloquies. the actors were quite enjoyable, especially the tall drink of water that played touchstone. the one thing that was terribly distracting: the costuming. i mean, i know it is suppose to be the 60's, the summer of love, but honestly, do you think you would get any play with this on?

maybe if all the world was a stage as shakespeare suggested, there would be more love and less hate. hope you enjoyed your summer of love. it's almost over ya'll.

twenty-ninth new thing...

one thing this year-long project has done for me is allow me to be more adventurous. and, some would say, reckless. see, i'm a very responsible person. an honest days work for an honest days pay and all that. it wasn't that long ago that i was an hourly-wage veterinary technician working 72 hours a week for $10. but i have a wild streak-- sometimes. so for the twenty-ninth new thing i did something that i characterize as completely irresponsible, i went to a movie in the middle of a work day. without permission and without telling anyone where i was going.

so how would i spend this indulgent afternoon movie opportunity on opening day of one of the most anticipated comic book films of the year? why see a musical, of course. but in order to pull this off i would have to utilize some sly james-bond like moves. so at lunch, i walked out to the car with my purse and various other accoutrement, placed them in laurel and calmly walked back up to my desk. about an hour later i got up, walked out to the parking lot, got into the car and left. not a word to anyone.

though frightening as hell (we do have a little bit of a gestapo-esque hr director) i really enjoyed being a little crazy. alright, fine. it's not like i jumped out of a plane. or quit my job. or flew to an undisclosed location (though that may be coming later). but for me, it was crazy. and out of character. and completely liberating. kind of like breaking into song in the middle of my mundane workday.

twenty-eighth new thing...

i'll be the first to admit there was a bit of an emotional letdown after my amazing trip to california back in july. and that certainly led to a new thing letdown. but the year goes on, and with it so do the 52 new things. so for the twenty-eighth of my new things i decided to take it a little easy and resurrect an event from my past. i created my own turner classic movie sunday and watched an old school movie.

since i haven't had cable since the great audit of the winter of 2007, i had to improvise to make this happen. so i turned to my trusty laptop computer and began a search of the greatest website for tv and movies currently out there, hulu. seriously, if you haven't used hulu yet, drop what you are doing and get over there right now. watch a little arrested development. or discover the new series in plain sight. or prep for the next season of terminator: the sarah connor chonicles. seriously, go. i'll wait. but hurry back.

besides television, hulu also has full-length feature films-- both new and old-- available for streaming. and i found the perfect sunday night movie: voyage to the bottom of the sea. a great disaster, science fiction movie that reminds you what film was like before cgi. produced and directed by irwin allen, the so-called "master of disaster", vttbots was a movie before its time. released in 1961 it centered around the impossible to imagine (at the time) earth destroying phenomena of global warming (oh, the horror!) and involved the quintessential destruction of the day...icebergs! giant squids! a saboteur! a cute furry animal that the saboteur pets in a menacing manner!

i did my own research before we started the film so that we could have our own robert osborne moment. madison and i enjoyed a sunday evening on the couch with a couple dos equis amber (me) and some rosemary popcorn (maddie loves her gourmet snacks). i recommend that you try it out one night. cuddle with a loved one and watch an old school movie you've never seen before. it might just turn out to be pretty awesome.

twenty-seventh new thing...

i feel like i do a lot of apologizing these days when i talk about my blog. every time someone asks me how it's coming along i always feel a pang of both pride and guilt. i'm proud that so many people read and keep up with my little project. but i'm also guilty of not keeping up with it every week like i promised i would. and i hate people who don't keep their promises. so i am here to begin again. a renewed commitment. and what better way than with the official post for the new thing that was the impetus for this whole project. for my twenty-seventh new thing i traveled to california and put my toes in the pacific ocean. now, on to the rest.


i know this trip is true, the redlands chronicles...

i know some time has passed since i was in the great state of california, but i still think it is important to tie up some loose ends. the mcpeak's and i spent the fourth of july in and around redlands, as planned, but we also headed out on a little unplanned adventure, too. we started the morning in a little diner in downtown redlands where i had some of the best pancakes i'd had in a while. even though charles and i were unsuccessful at convincing the little lady that we should return to san diego for a couple of tattoos from nothing sacred, we did manage to talk her into a trip up to big bear mountain.

as you should all know, not only am i from the south but i also haven't traveled much. so, the thought of heading up a mountain to over 8,000 feet is exactly how i would want to spend the birthday of our nation. as carly and i made our way to the cooler temperatures of big bear, we did manage to stop for some pictures along the way.

like with our friend smokey here. crabs and bears don't normally get along, but, hey, it's the fourth of july. the scenery itself was gorgeous and completely foreign to me. however, the car sickness was not. i always forget that i get motion sickness since i developed it later in life until i have already agreed to do something that makes me car sick. and then i just end up sitting (or, inevitably, laying down) in the back of the car trying not to throw up my yummy pancakes.

but, boy was it worth it once we got up there. there was still snow on the top of the highest peak (which we didn't make it to, unfortch. we ran out of time. appointments and all.) and you could definitely feel a difference in the temperature. and the air quality. but oddly enough, not the altitude.

after our trip up the windy mountain (punctuated by a stop at a little restaurant where i was not able to consume anything other a carbonated beverage because of my queasy tummy, we headed back down the mountain, a much less vomit-inducing enterprise. i guess i knew the end was in sight.

a few minutes at the apartment and then we were off again, this time on our way to the football stadium on the university of redlands campus for the fun fourth of july festivities there. we found some seats in the bleachers and watched the sunset behind the san bernadino mountains. little did we know the 2 hours of pre-fireworks fun that was about to occur. the community band of redlands, headed by their very own harold hill. old school czechoslovakia jets flyover. new school dc-7 flyover. skydivers (landing on the stadium track, no less). rod stewart, cher and elvis impersonators (all the way from vegas! really?). and then fireworks. and boy were they some fireworks. it was a fabulous end to a wonderful day and a fitting end to a wonderful trip.

happy fourth of july, ya'll!


i know this trip is true, the los angeles chronicles...

hello there everybody! another sunny day in cali has begun. my internal clock is all screwed up by all the late night (for me anyway) fun we've been having. we had another late night last night (i tumbled into bed around midnight) and we didn't even make it to karaoke-- which is probably a good thing. our day yesterday consisted mostly of eating in various places and doing a lot of walking from one place to eat to another place to eat. it was surely enjoyable. see pictures here.

we did go to the walt disney concert hall which is quickly beginning to rival the chrysler building as my favorite piece of architecture. i think the WDCH may have an unfair advantage because i could actually touch it. we also went to the arclight- next to the old cinerama dome theatre- and saw "wanted". it was...interesting. i don't know if i would suggest it to the common folk, but if you think angelina jolie is hot, that you would see her in any movie and you are able to suspend disbelief the moment the lights go down, this film is for you. it was the most clear picture quality i have ever seen in a theatre. they didn't have any caramel corn, but other than that it was a pure enjoyable experience.

we ended the day at PINK'S, and i had one of the best chili cheese dogs ever. still, nothing beats noshville's fran cheesey. i miss you music city. i'll be home soon....

today we are hanging around redlands for a fun fourth of july festivity. there will be fireworks, hot dogs, beer and cher impersonators. you know, the usual. i leave tomorrow to head back to atlanta. it's been a fun trip. i hope to be back soon. happy fourth of july everybody.


i know this trip is true, the san diego chronicles...

well, it's a little late, but it's here. the first entry for my california trip. pictures from day one are up at picasa in the california dreamin' web album. we are heading out to LA this morning, but i wanted to touch base quickly and give a couple brief highlights from the day yesterday and explain some of the photos.

i decided to chronicle the trip from the perspective of carly the crab, one of madison's squeaky toys and also a good surrogate for the american idol singer that brought me out to san diego in the first place. so you might see a picture of carly enjoying television on the plane or a burger at the field in san diego (the restaurant her namesake worked at before joining the show). just humor me, ok.

as far as highlights so far:
* putting my toes in the pacific ocean (it was just as cold as i thought it would be)
* eating at the field and enjoying (yes, enjoying) my first guinness
* walking through hillcrest, the gayborhood in san diego, and buying fun vintage t-shirts
* seeing carly smithson perform in her hometown!
* getting the most random sunburn on my chest that i have ever had
* staying awake for 22 straight hours (didn't get to bed here until 1AM local time...)

today we are doing the sightsee-y things in LA and going to the arclight to see the new angelina jolie movie. thanks for checking in. come back tomorrow. more photos. and maybe some captions to explain it all. in the meantime...

carly singing "bring me to life"


i know this trip is true...

well, here we are. the big day has arrived. when the thought of this project first crossed my mind back at the end of 2007, i put three things on my original list. go on at least one date before the end of the year (baby steps, people. baby steps.), attend the macy's thanksgiving day parade (still on the agenda...sorry mom.) and put my toes in the pacific ocean. and tomorrow, i will step off a plane in sunny san diego to do just that.

this is a big milestone for little ole me. for the girl who never left the confines of the south until she was well into her twenties. for the girl who is rapidly approaching thirty and still hasn't been further west than little rock. and for the girl who has dreams bigger than the words she knows to express them. this trip means the world to me and i am gonna love every minute of it.

and i want you to join me in loving every minute of it. so i am going to try and pseudo live blog this trip, doing nightly updates here and uploading pictures to my picasa site, which you can find at: california dreamin' web album. i can't promise coherent blogs as i will probably be penning these entries between 2AM and 5AM eastern time, but i promise to try.

well, i'm off. just another girl chasing a dream out west.

california dreamin'.

twenty-sixth new thing...

congratulations! you have made it to the halfway point in this year-long endeavor of 52 new things. thanks for hanging around. this week, as in week's passed, i actually did more than one new thing. i am choosing simply to focus on the positive and not the negative (to find out the dumb new thing that i did this week, you'll have to ask me. one thing's for sure, i don't want it in the book.) for this, the twenty-sixth new thing. this week my friend lisa and i cooked dinner using nothing but grocery-store brand ingredients.

now this isn't just any grocery store. anyone who knows me, knows my love-- nee fascination-- with all things publix. i am a loyal customer and have been my entire life. this store is in my blood (i think my mom might have worked for them back in high school). i also graduated from george w. jenkins senior high school, named after-- you guessed it-- george jenkins, the founder of publix. when i moved to nashville the first time there was not a publix in the state of tennessee yet. and i cried the first time i had to step foot into a kroger. it's just not the same. the bakery. the meat department. the friendly staff. ok, i gotta stop, i could go on forever and ever. no more propoganda, i promise.

anyway, this is one of the few grocers in the country with high quality store brand products. anything you can do- smuckers or jif or peppridge farm- my publix can do better. so when it came time to make a quicky lasagna and sauteed zuccinni for dinner, lis and i headed to the hottie publix (name courtesy of curt) and picked up all our necessary ingredients, hurrying home to cook up our scrumptious publix-brand dinner before the beginning of so you think you can dance. the show was amazing (how i heart chelsie and mark) and dinner was damn good, too.

twenty-fifth new thing...

this week actually presented itself with many, many new things, most of which i cannot or will not blog about right now as part of the 52 new things. i don't want to tempt fate, or the fates, or whomever might want to smite me in my uncharacteristic hopefulness and generally sunshiney nature. but i've said too much already. so let's move on. what i can blog about, however, is the fun time i had in nashville on friday night. for my twenty-fifth new thing, i attended my first bluegrass pickin' party.

nashville has a great community of green spaces throughout the city. seriously, they are major selling points for this athens of the south. i always loved driving about 10 minutes from downtown to radnor lake or percy warner or the trace (though that one is more than 10 minutes, but so worth the drive) and feeling like i was in the woods, a million miles away from whatever pressures you faced at the office or in a classroom earlier in the day. as a way to preserve and protect the warner parks (percy and edwin), the friends of warner park have fundraising events (as every good advancement officer knows you should...) including a summer tradition every third friday of the month starting in may and going through september, the full moon pickin' party.

how i managed to live in nashville for 6 years and never attend one of these i'll never know. for the low, low price of $20 each attendee is treated to 4 hours of amazing homegrown bluegrass music and 4 (yes, i said 4) complimentary beers in your commemorative plastic cup. and we aren't talking cheap beer here. no sir. that certainly won't do. we do it up in nash vegas. only the best...and appropriately named...beer will do. you also get that warm and fuzzy feeling (no, not from the beer) from knowing that you are helping preserve a great natural treasure. score.

we were able to procure a prime spot for our blankets and-- aside from the barefoot (though rather cute) hippie chick asking all of us to "dance" to music that only should be knee-slapped or square-danced to-- a great time was had by all. the usual suspects (me, kendra and brian) hung out with some stellar new friends (anna, evan and maya!) and some familiar faces (art and doug!) and ate true kettle corn, drank cold beer, and watched the lightning bugs while some of nashville's finest undiscovered talents played the banjo, standing bass, guitar and-- my personal favorite-- the mandolin. we ended the evening over some fresh baked apple pie (courtesy of the masked baker) and random youtube perusal. i think we all benefited from our lives being "grassed-up" that night. i know mine did.


twenty-fourth new thing...

hello friends. time for another installment of the year-long adventure of 52 new things. This week found me indulging-- yet again-- in one of my obsessions (healthy obsession. healthy, i tell you!) while combining it with another one of my fascinations. for my twenty-fourth of the fifty-two new things i designed and ordered my own personalized t-shirt.

i have always found these t-shirt designing web-sites to be oddly interesting, in a "you need to get a hold of your life" kind of way. i mean, what type of person sits at home creating all manner of designs for everything from t-shirts to board shorts to hats to underwear-- yes, i said underwear-- and uploads them to web-sites so that a complete stranger in peoria, illinois can walk around town with a shirt like this gem...

i mean, honestly. i'm sure someone thought they were being pretty witty when they put this bad boy up for sale. i think if i saw some guy walking down 21st avenue with this shirt on, i would walk up to him, pants him and then mock him mercilessly. actually, that could be my new thing for that week. but i digress. i do find it amusing that people invest so much time into these little art projects, so i decided to spend some time of my own one sunday afternoon and design my own carly smithson t-shirt.

unfortunately, i don't have a picture of the shirt just yet. it is taking exceptionally long to arrive. i had hoped to have it in my hot little hands before my trip to california (three short days!) because i wanted to wear it to the concert on wednesday night. but, alas, the postal service has foiled my grand plans again. but, in the meantime, this is one of the back up designs. it will give you an idea of how i found that i might just fit-- exactly like a long lost puzzle piece-- with all the other crazies...


twenty-third new thing...

so while i was home celebrating my baby sister's high school graduation (AAAHHHHHHH! i am so old! *pant. pant.* ok. i feel a little better.) i asked my other sister if i could do something with her as one of my 52 new things. she suggested i try and do her job for the day. it was more like a dare. so i said, fine, i'll take that bet. so for the twenty-third of my 52 new things, i "taught" a high school math class.

now, i use the word "taught" loosely here. what i mean is i got up early, made myself look presentable, made a cup of coffee and rode with my sister to the high school i graduated from eleven years ago (ohmigod. ohmigod. ohmigod.), that my sister graduated from six years ago and that our baby sister would be graduating from later that night in order to administer a final to a class of FCAT flunk-ys who were in intensive math strictly to pass the high school graduation requirement.

now, working in education policy at the state level-- a 30,000 foot view, if you will-- often clouds my perception of what is really going on in our classrooms. and then i found myself in a classroom administering a test to juniors and seniors that i could have passed as an eighth-grader (and, trust me, i am no math whiz.) and grading homework assignments strictly for completion and still giving out 50s. i worry for our country. i worry that education has not only lost its bite but also its bit. it isn't hard anymore. and no one seems to want to work for it.

after the hellions finished with their test and the "bell" rang (not that we could hear it out in the faculty parking lot in one of the 20 portables), we headed on in to the main office and then to the math department hideaway. i heard teacher after teacher complain of students not caring anymore, of teachers unable to care anymore, of being forced to pass students even if they were beyond failing simply because they had been in the country less than 5 years (the wonderful bush administration-- either jeb or george, take your pick-- at work), of forced retirements (due to budget woes) and of general disdain for what high school had become.

and this was at my high school. the place that prepared me for great things. the school that had produced 6 national merit scholars in its first 6 years. that had a valedictorian with an almost 5.0 GPA (that's all AP courses and dual college credits for you laymen). that sent students to the university of michigan and harvard and emory and vanderbilt. that created doctors and lawyers and, yes, even education policy research associates.

and now all we are producing is useless graduates who need remedial classes their first year of college. who don't know what it means to study. who don't know what it means to work hard, fail, get up the next day and do it again until you earn your success. high school use to mean something. now, it seems, all high school means is that you managed to outwit, outplay, or simply outlast the system. so much for the screamin' eagles...

twenty-second new thing...

and we're back! the last couple of weeks have been crazy hectic and have kept me from blogging. not that i am making excuses. i don't believe in excuses. no siree, not me. i say, if you screw up, bend over, take your punishment and (if you like it) ask for more. but i digress. anywho. the reason you are really here, the next foray into the exciting world of my 52 new things. alas, this week, not so exciting. but still new. for the double duece of my 52 new things, i purchased my first pair of chucks! (see what i did there with the fact that twenty-two is two twos and then shoes also come in twos? high-larious!)

this year marked the 100th anniversary of converse making shoes, most famously-- the all star.

in 1918 a high school basketball star named chuck taylor started wearing the fledgling companies canvas sneaker. three years later, converse hired taylor and he became an ace salesman. the iconic "chuck taylor" converse all-stars have a style that has remained virtually unchanged since the first sneaker was produced in 1912. i first remember chucks in the 1978 nostalgia soaked movie grease. bit o' trivia for you: the jock who took sandy out on a date after danny had been such a jerk was none other than lorenzo lamas. yes, that lorenzo lamas.

these shoes have been worn by the ultra cool (james dean apparently loved his chucks) and those trying to be cool (hilary duff? really?) but never by me. so i got a pair. and wouldn't you know it, they gave me a blister. and even though it seems like every pair of shoes i own is brown, i still got these.

ps: just some eye candy for the ladies (and 10% of you men), a little gyllenhaal converse love...


twenty-first new thing...

and here we are. finally. this will be short and sweet and to the point. for this installment of the 52 new things, i gave up my memorial day holiday and sat bleary-eyed in front of the cathode-rayed light emitting from the screen of my laptop for 7 and a half hours and did nothing but write. write until my fingers bled. write until i could write no more. researching blog posts. finding the most insightful link. racking my brain for something funny to say. cursing my own laziness for letting it get this out of hand. and praying every moment for it to be over. and here we are. so, enjoy.

for my twenty-first new thing, i caught up on all my blogging for this grand adventure. i wrote ten blog posts in one day. happy now, kevin?

and now i have to figure out what to do next. dammit!

twentieth new thing...

woo hoo! we are out of the teens and into the numeric new things that are easier to spell (be honest, how many of you knew that twelfth and fifteenth were spelled that way? don't lie!). for the twentieth thing of my 52 new things, i decided to widen my culinary experiences with another friend new to the adventure. so on a random sunday afternoon, chris and i went to a restaurant in the little vietnam part of buford highway and i ate vietnamese food for the first time.

i sure do enjoy my asian cuisine. chinese, japanese, thai. yumm-y. so i have no idea how i got this far in life without ever having eating vietnamese food. perhaps it is the fact that most of the places i have lived don't have a large vietnamese population. or maybe it is that whole wives tale involving dogs. i'm sure its the former, not the later. no matter, because the food was phenomenal. now, i don't enjoy spicy things (addressing that will probably be one of the new things further down the road) or fishy things (shut up, curt!) but other than that i am pretty open to trying new things. especially when you get to eat at the best vietnamese place in atlanta, co'm.

i ordered the beef tenderloin co'm (fragrant rice), expecting it to be similar to a chinese rice dish. it was totally different. the beef had been marinated in this wonderful sauce and then charcoal grilled. and the rice is probably my new favorite thing of the planet. while neither chris or i had anything way out of the ordinary, the experience was fabulous.

i feel it only fair that i let you all know that this new thing was absolutely a fall back. i was suppose to race go carts at the andretti speedway as part of austin's birthday on saturday night. but an injury to my pectoral muscles during my half-marathon three weeks before kept me on the sidelines and out of the cars. now that i am better, those pansy-ass boys better watch out. because-- and my parent's can attest to this-- i'm not afraid to drive fast, spin out and crash into other cars. trust me. i have tons of experience.

nineteenth new thing...

happy graduation week, all my peabody friends. i really wanted my new thing for this week to be associated with the commencement festivities at my alma mater, but, alas, most of the events going on i participated in last year when i graduated. but i found a way around that. so, for my nineteenth thing of the 52 new things, i did something that pushed me out of my control freak comfort zone: i walked into a hair salon without an appointment, one hour before graduation and said "do what ever you want."

now, i love my hair. and it was long. i hadn't cut it in almost a year. but it was time for a change. so i placed my fate in the hands of deana at eye candy on edgehill in nashville and waited to see what would happen. now, before you boys get all defensive and say something like: "it's just a haircut. it'll grow back. this isn't that big a deal." keep in mind, chicks are different. super different. most of us don't keep the same haircut we have had since we were 5! (*cough* dad! *cough*) we change our hair. frequently. we change the color. we change the style. we change the texture. and a bad haircut can ruin our self-esteem for a long, long time. and the last thing you want is a chick with screwy self-esteem.

when deana asked me what i wanted to do, i answered "what ever you want." she looked at me, slightly frightened and definitely perplexed and said: "but you don't even know me." once she got over the shock of having all the power, she asked if she could give me a mullet. now, my initial reaction was to yell: "NNNOOOOOOO!!!" but then this wouldn't be a new thing. so i simply responded: "whatever you want to do." this concerned her even more. luckily (for me and my street cred as a chapstick rather than butch saphocrat) deana decided against the mullet and began to give me a hip edgy short cut.

less than an hour later, i was out the door, with more product in my hair than it had seen in at least a year and headed to graduation. i have never gotten so many compliments about my hair in my life (well, almost never. i did have pretty rocking hair at my sister's wedding.) and i definitely gave all the praise to deana and her good judgement (yeah for no mullet!). i don't know if i will tempt fate again with a stunt like this, but right now, my self-esteem is pretty good. now pass the mousse.

eighteenth new thing...

so here we are, the beginning of may and still going strong. i have to admit, i am surprised i made it this far into the 52 new things. and i am thankful to my friends who have made suggestions of new things to add. keep them coming. we only have 44 more to go. so for my eighteenth new thing, i went back to my roots. during my time in cuthbert watching all my dad's little college kids graduate, i decided to do some farming. for the first time in my life, i actually used a piece of farming equipment and hoed a row!

i look nothing like a farmer, do i? i was woefully unprepared for this undertaking. forgetting about the mosquitoes who ate me alive in my cute cargo shorts, i'm lucky i didn't lose a toe tilling in a pair of sandals! that weren't even mine and were, thus, too big. by about 6 sizes. also, i kept having to avoid madison, who thought it was her job to bark and weave in front of the rototiller anytime we were in the "forward" position.

don't let that smile fool you, i was scared to death. and that fact certainly resulted in a crooked row. hey, you! in the peanut gallery! keep those straight jokes to yourself, willya? besides, my dad told me my grandfather (who was an actual farmer always said "you get more crop out of a crooked row than a straight one." hummm, i wonder if there is a bigger meaning in there somewhere?

anyway, i think this is a more accurate representation of my feelings on the day...

my dad has a decent sized garden going on in his backyard but he isn't one of those survivalist crazies that are popping up all over. just some corn, peppers, tomatoes, random marigolds and collards. and now, thanks to me and my wonderful hoeing skills, he will have an entire row of sunflowers. you know i love me some sunflowers-- and sunflower seeds for that matter. we did have one mishap, which i blame on an as-yet diagnosed pectoral muscle injury left over from the half-marathon the week before. but otherwise, i think it went pretty well. then again, i did end up in a hole at one point...

seventeenth new thing...

so this new thing might take the cake as the one the longest in the making. years have gone into accomplishing this installment of the 52 new things. five years to be precise. back before grad school. back before atlanta. and back before carly. for the seventeenth of the 52 new things, i bought the most expensive thing that i have ever owned: i paid off my car!

behold. laurel and i on the day i picked her up in nashville. (and, yes, i name my cars. always have. ever since sally.) finding this car was a monumental process. i don't even buy a $7 hot dog without listing the pros and cons of investing that much money. so you can only imagine how many times i went back and forth on how much i could afford to finance for my first new car.

i think it turned into a 5 month process of looking at different brands, then looking at different models, then looking at different colors. i still don't know how my dad managed enough self-control to not smother me in my sleep. the final insult was the fact that the color i had decided on (dark green. once an eagle, always an eagle.) was nowhere to be found. so i "settled" for gold. and then it promptly became known-- most appropriately-- as the vandymobile.

with laurel finally all picked out and ready to go, we sold sally and went to the credit union to apply for a car loan. strictly a formality i was assured by my father. and then they denied my loan application. suddenly i was a twenty-four year old living at home with my dad without a car. how the hell did that happen?

we called in some favors and i ended up getting financed (pesky student loans. why can't banks look at that as an investment in my future like i tell myself every month i write a $500 check?). though making the final payment lacked any climactic moments (one moment the money is in the bank, the next moment the auto debit clears and laurel is "mine"), i did freak out a little when the title arrived in the mail. i own a car. i never missed a payment, never had to forgo food or rent to make my payment. i believe in responsibility. too bad midflorida credit union didn't believe in me. they missed out on a lot of interest. to quote julia roberts from pretty woman: "big mistake. huge!"

sixteenth new thing...

this new thing represents a goal that i wanted to accomplish more than anything. now, while meeting a goal i set for myself is nothing new (otherwise, i would be a twenty-nine year-old woman who crawls on the floor, never learned how to chew solid food and still needs someone to change my diaper. oh, i guess that is something i have to look forward to as an eighty-nine year-old.) the actual goal was new. for the sixteenth accomplishment of the 52 new things, i ran a 10K in under 60 minutes.

beginning in february, i started training for my second half-marathon in april. as part of the training, i decided to set not only a distance goal (just finishing....which was the goal of the first half last year) but also a time goal (finish it in under 2 hours and 10 minutes, which would require me to average less than 10 minute miles for the 13.1 mile course). this required that i incorporate time trials into my training. as chronicled earlier, my attempt to participate in a warm-up race didn't go so well. so i took it upon myself, the week before the race to pick a day to run a 10K (6.2 miles for all you non-metric peeps). it would be a pretty good indication of how likely it would be that i would meet my half-marathon goal. so i started that treadmill, blasted that carly smithson and waited to see. and i did it. even if it was just barely.

update: so since accomplishing this new thing, i ran my half-marathon in nashville. and you will be happy to know that i not only met my finishing goal, but i bested it. finished in 2 hours and 7 minutes. i might do a full the next time. then again, i don't know if my poor feet and pecs can take it.

fifteenth new thing...

hollar! welcome back! for this foray into the 52 new things, i did something else that appeals to my love of (almost) all things entertainment. and this bloggity, blog, blog is totally owed to my dad. while we were suppose to share this experience together, he still made it possible for my friend laura and i to go even after he had to cancel last minute. so, thanks a bushel and a peck, dad. you're the best. for the fifteenth of my 52 new things, i was lucky enough to attend the world premiere of a movie.

the lena baker story explores the true story of lena baker, the first woman to ever be executed by electrocution in the state of georgia. based on a book written by the head of the english department and librarian at the college my father works for, the movie introduced me to a tale i had never heard before. and the environment in which it was presented caused the film to resonate even more with me.

set in the rolling cotton fields of southwest georgia (near where i was born, incidentally), the film stars tichinia arnold, of little shop of horrors (in which her characters name was...crystal!) and martin fame. the lead role was like nothing i had ever seen her portray before and because of that it took me more than 30 minutes for me to turn to laura with this faint glimmer of realization on my face and whisper: "holy shit. that's pam!" it was a moving story and i was invested to the very end, even though we all new how it would end (and, also in spite of the incessant praying i was doing between 8PM and 9PM, waiting to hear carly's fate from my sister. thanks for taking one for the team micahel johns!)

what was especially touching about this film was the family sitting in front of us. as it was opening night, the majority of the cast was in attendance (that's tichinia in those rocking boots! that's totally denzel washington's boss from the bone collector!) with their families. in front of laura and i was an entire fourth of a row of kids, no older than 13 (and most younger than that).

as the electrocution scene began to play, the little girl (who was probably 10) just to the left of me in the next row began to cry. an upsetting, ugly cry. her mother came over and started to comfort her as the rest of the theatre erupted in sobs (laura and i included). first, i was upset that her parents thought it was a good idea to bring her. as the lights came up, the director and cast received a standing ovation. the director called members of the cast down to the front of the theatre to participate in the Q&A.

when he asked for the ingenue who played lena as a little girl, the very same ten year-old who had been so upset only 20 minutes before, stood and walked down to stand next to her older self. apparently that was the first time she had seen the scene where lena is put to death. and she was lena. no wonder she was so upset. but she pulled it together, better than i could and answered a couple questions. and a star was born.

ps: the lena baker story was picked up for distribution the night of the premiere and was suppose to be shown at cannes. hopefully it will garner a wider release. the story of the injustice this woman faced deserves to be told.

special bonus new thing...

it's like getting two, two for the price of one. this week i actually experienced two new things that absolutely had to be blogged about. on monday, i attended opening night for the atlanta braves at turned field. while out to lunch on thursday, however, i received a phone call from one of my entertainment idols, michael slezak-- american idol savant and writer for entertainment weekly (the best entertainment magazine out there. seriously.)-- asking for an interview about carly smithson. really? an interview with little ole me? uhmm, i think the answer is HELL YEAH!

now, my love for all things carly is closely rivaled by that of mr. slezak. he has never hid his love for the irish barmaid. and i have never hid my love for him because of his love of the irish barmaid. so when the opportunity presented itself to speak to him and about her on the best american idol video blog on the interweb, i about peed my pants. we talked about why carly was having issues getting votes, why america seemed to dislike her (she's not american! she has tattoos! she had a record deal! and other cardinal sins...), and why her desperation wasn't playing well with the audience. though i was freaking out before hand, the interview itself was totally fun. i hope i get to do that again. thanks michael! looking forward to next season!

ps: a little knowledge i dropped on slezak and missy that they didn't know...the song carly did that week (here you come again) had been done on canadian idol in season 4. and it was horrible. so good on carly for doing it well. and why was carly's better? her arrangement, which no one gave her credit for, even though it was completely different from dolly parton's original and clay aiken's "re imagining". come on simon. be consistent with the love.

pps: for more carly smithson love on idolatry, see this, this, this, this, and my personal favorite this....i less than 3 you, slezak. i. heart. you.

fourteenth new thing...

let's get those rally caps on people! time for another installment of the 52 new things. i sense a wave of excitement presenting itself as hands flung over the heads in an undulating successive fashion all across the circular blogosphere at this moment. keep your cleats on, my pretties. for the fourteenth new thing i participated in a true american pass time. i attended opening day of the 2008 major league baseball season.

without getting all hometown on you, i have been a braves fan for as long as i can remember. not like die hard, "i still can't believe what happened on august 19th, 1985", braves fan. but a "how are the braves doing this year?" questioning every now and then, braves fan. as much as i love baseball (which is a moderate amount), that's how much i love the braves. i don't think my grandmother ever purposely missed a braves game in her life and i often recall slight expletives emanating from her room when chipper would fly out or avery would walk a batter. so it was with an understated amount of excitement that i boarded the doraville marta and headed to ole turner field to meet kevin, ryan and christine for a 7PM game against the pirates.

while participating in a rousing conversation of the circular reasoning at the heart of the movie gremlins (ryan: "i never understood the rules of that movie. if you can't feed the mogwai after midnight then when can you feed them? it is always after midnight." very insightful, ryan.), the four of us enjoyed some of the most overly priced bar food i have ever eaten. $7 for a hot dog? really? normally i am too much of a miser to even consider "investing" in $20 worth of beef product and soda, but you only live once, so after much prodding by the ericksen's i sunk my teeth into a georgia dog, braves style.

yummm. processed cheese. (aka: gross!). but the chili was decent. actually, all that thing needed was a couple of strips of bacon and some coleslaw to make it one of the best hot dogs ever. but, alas, no one has yet rivaled my favorite deli for the crown of the most awesomest kosher dog in town. otherwise, so far so good on the opening day experience.

what's that? where did i get that awesome hat, you ask? that was a spur of the moment purchase as i walked through underground atlanta, trying to get from the marta to the bus. i guess u:a is good for something other than shootings and useless kiosks of crap crowding the walkways. this particular iteration of the atlanta logo has a special place in my family. we had a cousin who pitched for the braves back in the day when the lowercase a was the official merch. plus, i have a slight fascination with the little letters.

after our tasty meal, we split up. ryan and christine headed out to their "we are established, married professionals and can afford better" seats, while kev and i headed up. not to the cheap seats, but the cheaper seats. in the outfield. but we were blessed with a special treat. our seats were literally right next to the braves bullpen. we were able to watch the starting pitcher for that night run through his warm-ups. and that pitcher was none other than tom glavine. welcome back to atlanta, glavi!

other than the creepy guy in front of us (who only made it to the fifth inning before he peaced-out with his one crutch and nappy hair-netted hair), it was a fun time. we were surrounded by families (yeah for no drunk college kids being stupid in our immediate vicinity) and we made our way over to the ryan and christine and their seats on the first base line. actually, come to think of it, i think they had to deal with way more obnoxious people than kev and i did in the outfield. the braves had trouble with their middle relief and scoring through pretty much the whole night. and then when everyone thought the fat lady had sung, the cardiac kids took the bucs into extra innings. lots of extra innings. and still lost. but at least it was close. and there is a whole season of tomahawk chops to look forward to. charge!

ps: interestingly, snellville, georgia's own diana degarmo sang the national anthem. another weird american idol connection. they just keep coming.

thirteenth new thing...

here i come again, just when you're about to make it work without me. did you miss me? yeah. i suspected that. please forgive me and my lack of blogging. though i haven't been writing, i have still been plodding along through this year long adventure of 52 new things. but it just doesn't seem to be as much fun without sharing it with you all. hopefully you will come back and continue the adventure with me. so hang on, 'cause here you come again, and here i go.

so for the thirteenth new thing of the 52 new things, i decided to do something i probably should have done as chubby twelve year-old but never got around to. i guess it was not meant to be. sorry debbie (oops, i mean deborah...). this week, i wrote and mailed a fan letter.

now, you might be wondering, who in the world would make me so starstruck that i would put pen to paper and gush about my feelings like a hormonal pre-teen. after years of obsessing over this actress or that musician. who would succeed where others had failed? you're messin' up my mind and fillin' up my senses, ms. carly smithson. something about an irish girl with raven hair and blue eyes just sends me scrambling for the expensive italian paper (thanks curt!) and rilke prose. but my love of all things dark haired and blue-eyed is nothing new. so what was so different this time around? a very interesting question. and not one i am sure i know the answer to just yet. but first, the muse.

she's beautiful. sure. but also talented. not to go all paula abdul on everyone, but that voice, that voice. oh my god. when she opened her mouth in hollywood week and sang alone all associations i had in my head attached to that song and an unfortunate boyfriend from middle school melted away. thank you carly smithson. thank you for making it ok for me to love heart again.

but it hadn't been all puppies and rainbows for carly on season 7 of american idol. in the second week of beatles songs (pet peeve #1: don't do a second week of the same theme. no one who had a transcendent moment in the first week of lennon/mccartney did anything remotely close to awesome the second week.) carly wore this unfortunate shirt, which totally distracted everyone from her performance of blackbird.

after this week, america placed her in the bottom three. and she was distraught and looked like she had totally lost her confidence. so i decided to send her a letter of encouragement. none of this "omigod. you are like the prettiest, most awesomest singer ever. lol." no. i quoted rilke and the bible and got all metaphysical. i talked about destiny and life's journey and joy. an excerpt:

whatever is meant to happen is already within you. that which we call destiny enters during times of solitude and quiet when we are the furthest from it and the least able to recognize it. it can be days or months or years before it blooms. but when it happens, when our destiny finally reveals itself, we know it the way a blind man knows the feel of the walls of his home. we recognize the truth of the moment because it was in us all along. Rilke says: "that which we call destiny goes forth from within people, not from without into them." so your "moment" is already inside you; its-- and your-- journey cannot be changed. have faith in what is to come and what has already come that you simply do not have the eyes to see just yet.

now, while i am certain it was my two hours of voting on two phones every week and not my letter writing that helped keep her in the competition a few more weeks-- that is until the ridiculous american public decided that this gem was simply not good enough (or too anti-christian. you decide. stupid reactionary, mouth-breathing hillbillies.)-- i would like to think that my words did not fall on deaf, erm, eyes? i can't wait for the tour (already have seats for two shows! woot!) and look forward to her album. who knows, maybe one of my new things later in the year will be meeting the person i sent my first fan letter to. hey, a girl can dream.


52 new things update...

hello there. long time, no blog. after finally coming to terms with the stupidity of the american voting public (and no, i am not talking about this. i am talking about this!), i am back to put fingers to keypad and update the last *gasp* ten weeks of new things. check back tomorrow night when my new thing for this week will be completed...

i need a hug, too...


twelfth new thing

let's get a little bit more religiosity up in this piece, shall we? as i mentioned previously, if this adventure goes the way i intend, i will be doing a lot of new things that involve the church. and, no, this is not one of them. but this week, for the twelfth installment of the 52 new things-- and in celebration of easter-- i attended my first full catholic mass.

some of you may know (this includes you, mom and dad) that my sister married a nice catholic boy in june of 2007. since i foresee a lot of christenings and confirmations in my future (between her and her sister-in-law's kids...) i decided to get a jump start on all this mass stuff. plus, let's face it, if you are in any way a type a personality like me than the rules of mass are totally appealing. so, on easter sunday, i tagged along with the coolest catholic family i know (in atlanta) and attended service at st. michael the archangel.

once i found the place (i am such an ITP girl), i was amazed at how many people were there. thankfully, the cumberland's had saved me a place in a pew and with all of us together, we almost took up a whole one. kev informed me that hardly any of those people show up on a regular basis. nice to know that protestants aren't the only ones who feel the need to come back to the big house only twice a year.

the music was impressive (full brass section anyone?) and easy to sing along with (there were enough people there that my horrible toneless voice was indistinguishable from the rest). i didn't know all of the responses for the rites and readings but i managed to get my fair share of "and also with you"s in. plus, when the priest came through the parishioners with the holy water, i got splashed twice. double blessings! awesome. the little kid in front of us was hilarious (and his mom was hot, but i was in church so i didn't notice...until after the service) and all in all, i had a wonderful time. but there were two things i was disappointed with-- one the priest's fault and one my own.

first, the papa's fault. the homily was HORRIBLE. honestly dude, you got a church full of peeps who probably haven't stepped foot in your sanctuary since this time last year and you deliver what i can only hope was an under prepared sermon. honestly, if it had been earlier in the morning i might have fallen asleep. lisa agreed, it was a total let down. second, my personal problem. i hate not being able to participate in the eucarist. i'm not baptised and so i find it inappropriate to do the whole "body of christ, blood of christ" thing. so i have to cross my arms like a moron and receive a blessing. at least this time i wasn't the only one in the whole congregation and i got an actual prayer while the celebrant had his palm on my forehead. triple blessings! sweet.

after mass, we went to kevin's parents house where his parents and his four brothers and sisters (and respective spouses) had lunch. i always heard jokes about the decibel level at the cumberland house, but i thought nothing of it. i worked in at a veterinarian clinic for 4 years with constantly barking dogs. loudness doesn't bother me. well, they were everything they had been cracked up to be and it was hilarious. and i felt so blessed to be included. until i got home. and then i had a headache. for two days.

happy easter ya'll.


eleventh new thing...

and this is where the wheels came off. this week, i had two possible ways to fulfill the eleventh of my 52 new things. the men's SEC tournament was going on at the dome downtown and a st. patty's day themed 5K and 10K was scheduled for sunday. so i would either attend my first men's SEC tournament game or i would run in and finish a 10K in under 60 minutes. sweetness, right? if the commodores choke (and surely that wouldn't happen) before i was able to get to a game i would simply head to the race on sunday and be totally covered. but then mother nature got involved. and all hell broke loose.

i left work early on friday with the intention of heading down to the dome to catch the commodore/razorback game. after a brief text conversation with a sab about the weather-- which was suppose to be all thunderstormy-- i decided to wait until saturday when it would be nicer to hop on marta and brave the crowds. well, wouldn't you know, the boys lost. to arkansas. for the second time in a week. nice. option number one gone. but i settled in for a movie and a rockin' bar-b-que chicken pizza with my buddy curt content with the thought of running the road race on sunday. no worries.

around 930 a storm came up out of nowhere that distracted us from starting our movie. curt and i walked out on to the porch to watch it a little more closely, stuck our hands out into the forcefully falling rain and marveled at the extreme nature of the lightning. but as a tampa native (lightning capital of the world, bitches!) and survivor of the 2004 hurricane season, i had definitely seen worse. i mean, the lights didn't even flicker. back to fight club.

around 1130 two simultaneous text messages dropped on mine and curt's cell phone. k dub-- ever the worrier-- was wondering if we were ok. why wouldn't we be? as the movie ended, i turned off the dvd player and was met with images of the cnn building in pieces, pieces of the dome falling on to the court, and general mayhem and destruction in downtown atlanta. holy crap! apparently, at 940 an F2 tornado ripped a path from northeast atlanta diagonally to southwest atlanta, causing the most severe damage near centennial olympic park and into cabbagetown. it was the first time such a weather event had ever happened in downtown atlanta-- but not the first in a major city i lived in (i'm beginning to think i have bad weather karma). the resulting damage closed a large swath of downtown atlanta for the remainder of the weekend, canceling the city's st. patrick's day parade and postponing the junior league's road race. great. option two down the tubes. now what?

so in a week when i had two possible ways to accomplish a new thing i ended up doing something i never meant to: i survived a deadly tornado and never even knew it.


tenth new thing...

woo hoo! it's my birthday week! i easily could have done a "my new thing for the week is turning 29", but instead of taking the easy way out, i actually decided to do something new as part of my 52 new things. thanks to the lovely k dub, *shout out*, we had tickets to see james blunt and the oh-so-adorable-possible-love-of-my-life sara bareilles at the tabernacle. now, i have already sung on stage with a major band (twice actually), so i couldn't do that as a new thing. but as for making requests, that is something new. so for my tenth new thing, i made a sign requesting a song at a concert.

we were a little late getting to the show (poster making and all) and there was a minor issue between my beloved laurel and another car in the parking garage. i had never hit a parked car before. moving cars? yes. inanimate objects, like concrete mailboxes? sure. but all of those incidences were in sally. and all over 8 years ago (no car accidents in 8 years! holler!), so i think under the circumstances, i handled it pretty well. no tears were shed. just simple disbelief of what i had done. and the fact that there was no real damage.

this was my first trip to the tabernacle, a venue that can best be described as a trashy cross between the ryman (music mecca, if you ask me) and an over-sized house of blues. it was interesting. seating in the balcony but general admissions craziness in the main level. a little something for everyone. the crowd was a decent size though it was apparent that most of the people there came to see james blunt. that's cool. more love for me to shower on ms. bareilles.

sara was amazing. you may be familiar with her uber-ubiquitous hit "love song" but i am proud to say i discovered her before almost anyone had ever heard of her (a song called "gravity" played on my pandora radio station one day and i started crying. so beautiful.) her album little voice accompanied me on my ipod to my first day of work at my new job in may of '07 and onto the buses and subways of nyc during my fourth of july visit later that year. i heart her. i didn't get many good pictures at the show for a couple of reasons. mostly, because i was too busy holding up my hot pink poster that said: hey sara b.! play a song for me. it's my b-day! (it wasn't big enough to put the name of the song "many the miles" but she played it anyway!). also, i was so excited most of the pictures were too blurry from my shaking hands and incessant jumping up and down. again, i heart her.

as for mr. blunt, he made a believer out of me. i must admit that when i first heard about the show i was disappointed that she would be playing with him. i mean, "you're beautiful" and "good-bye, my lover" are not the most uplifting songs in the history of music and i have some history attached to each (as, i am sure, many do). so the idea of having to stand there and listen to over an hour of melancholia made me want to poke my eyeballs out. and then he started playing. the boy is phat. political musings. upbeat selections. mad piano and guitar skills. honestly, i would totally see him again, even without sara b. on the bill. i left the show kinda sad i had missed the james blunt train back in the day. all in all, a stellar show.

*ps* i would be remiss if i did not mention curly haired gargantua standing in front of us at the show. she was quite possibly the most ridiculous sober concert goer i have ever had to deal with in my long concert going life. first of all, chick had no rhythm. literally none. it wasn't even like she was clapping on the 1 and the 3 when every one else was clapping on the 4 and the 8. bitch was clapping on the 5 1/2 and the 2 3/4. my musicology professor would have been pulling her hair out. (and we wouldn't want that, melanie.) second, she took her bra off ala flashdance about 5 minutes in to the show and proceeded to throw it on the stage at the only time james blunt had his back turned to us. he never saw it! and the rest of us had to listen to her yell between songs the whole rest of the night: "my bra! my BRA!" it was ridiculous. and mildly amusing. thankfully no one came to blows, though i feared for her life if she smacked kendra in the face with her nasty mane one more time.

*pps* here is a picture of the sign k dub made for trent of pink is the new blog. it didn't get featured the week i went to the show, but i thought it could stand in proxy for my other poster....which i forgot to get a picture of. dammit!