Tuesday, March 30, 2010


You know, you guys are way better than anything. I told my parents I was going over to my friends' Bobbie and Joanne’s to study, but I didn't. I came here, instead. I'm stooping to subterfuge for you guys!

I was not made for lying. Or deception. Or secret-keeping. Well, nobody was. (Except maybe for Crissy up there.) But me especially? Not so much.

David contacted me two weeks ago with the idea of coming to Texas to surprise Ginger and propose to her here. (I’ll let her be the one to give you the full story, don’t worry!) It was the morning I was leaving for SXSW. It’s all that was on my mind during that four and a half hour drive down to Austin. I was particularly perky that morning, and why not? Ginger! David! Surprise engagement! Grins all around!

But. This is when the lying had to start. I somehow had to keep my mouth shut during a five-day trip with co-workers and friends. I had to go out into the hotel hallway to make a purposely vague phone call, and checked my phone constantly for new texts or emails from David, as more and more news came in for what his trip was going to look like.

I also had to endure the hardest thing so far: a very long phone call with Ginger, listening to her talk about her relationship, when she thought the proposal might possibly come, and find a way to be my normal self of question-asking and hmmm-ing and somehow not telling her IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN WHILE YOU’RE IN TEXAS! IN TWO WEEKS! HE’S GOING TO SURPRISE YOU GAAAAAH!

After that weekend I had to work hard to do everything I could to keep this secret from somehow getting out. And that's when the lying really took off. SO! Apologies to you if you were one of the people whose face I lied directly into. Annie, for sure, who I spent an entire weekend with and wanted nothing more than to just let it all out and jump on the hotel beds in excitement with over the whole thing! Stacy, my co-worker pal, who asked very innocent questions about things I was doing and received a handful of mushy falsehoods in return. And especially my own BROTHER, who asked if I thought there might be a chance that she'd fly in and surprise US by already having a ring, and I had to just vaguely say something like "I don't thiiiiiiink so.... Oh look! A bird!"

The hardest person to lie to though was, of course, Ginger. Particularly once she was in Tyler, enjoying the backyard weather with my parents and I, as I told her I had to “go back to work” and avoid her gaze as she grilled me about “DO THEY KNOW YOUR FAMILY’S IN TOWN?!?” and “WHY DO YOU HAVE TO GO IN?” and I mumbled something about my boss and his kids and okay bye.


I was on my way to meet up with Him*. To show him possible proposal spots. (PS—He is so awesome, because I took him to my favorite place first and he simply high-fived me and said he didn’t need to see anywhere else. Brother-in-law WIN!) We talked about Ginger, and how we both say WIN, and about how I had the hardest job, because of all the LYING! I mean really. All he had to do was ask her a question!

Me? I had to lie to her face again on Sunday morning and tell her that Mom and Grandma went over here, let’s go meet them! See? This is not strange at all! Here, listen to this great song. Sing along, why dontcha?

And suddenly all of the paranoia, the evasion, the heart-clenched feeling, the worry, the sleepless nights, the lying, and everything else, were all worth it. Because then I left, and five minutes later when I came back, she was sparkling (both in jewelry and demeanor) and bouncing and happier than I’ve ever seen her.

More so than when we got a trampoline that one Christmas even.

*David. Not the Lord. (Though I’m sure He was there too.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

My ears are RINGing.

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday. My brains and emotions were a little fried from GETTING ENGAGED.

And just like that, he was here, at the place I love most, with the people I love most... surprising me and changing everything for the better.

More details eventually. Trying to soak up family time before we fly back today.

-The Luckiest.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I am. So tired.

Currently I have the theme song to the... amazing and... heart-warming and... intelligent 90’s sitcom “Clueless” stuck in my head. All I can do is wonder WHY?

I know spring is here because my car is currently covered in a lime green sheen of pollen.

Earlier this evening, Ginger and I saw something... unattractive. At the exact same time, we both said, “Buzz, your girlfriend! Woof!”

Did I tell you I got to hang out with Annie last weekend? Well I did. She is as dazzling/radiant/sweet/hilarious as you’ve imagined. Seriously—this girl knows how to make me laugh. Meet her and have all your wildest dreams come true!

Dad came over tonight to help me with the mystery of the annoying beeping sound emanating from my apartment’s alarm system (that I never use). In the case of Dad versus the alarm... the court rules… Dad wins!

Okay. Falling asleep on the keyboard here.

Later days!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Vegetable Poetry

I put two carrots on the counter
And watched them roll around
They seemed to find each other
Then dive right for the ground.
Surprised I was to find them there,
I nearly laughed aloud,
For my two carrots were getting hitched,
And broccoli stood there proud.
What makes my vegetables act this way
I’m sure I’ll never know,
But if they’ve felt alone some days,
They had to duck and roll.

Middle age is far away, but closer than I’d like.
I want someone to call my own,
To drive a two-seat bike.
And we could walk out on a beach,
Or jog upon the sand.
We could hike or pick a peach,
While strolling hand in hand.
I don’t mind and I don’t care
How you dress or comb your hair,
For all I want is someone there
To laugh along the way.

The End.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Three Questions

1) What is the most played song on your iTunes list? (Or equivalent thereof.) My iTunes has been a little janky quanky over the years so my play count isn’t QUITE accurate, but my number one song right now, Mona Lisa by Grant Lee Phillips, has been played twice as many times as the song in the number two slot (Married Life, from “Up”). It’s so interesting to go back and see what songs you mindlessly return to again and again!

2) I absolutely love certain movies like “Return of the King” and “Moulin Rouge.” But you just cannot watch movies like that all the time! It can just be too… much. If I had to pick movies I could watch just about every day, they’d be “Return to Me” and “A League of their Own.” So this is a different question than ‘What is your favorite movie?’ This question is: what movies can you watch every day?

3) A few weeks ago, my mom asked me what my favorite food in the world is. I had a really difficult time answering this question. I mentioned a few foods I really like, but never settled on any one thing. Lately though, I realized: I know. It’s the Saturday night meal my dad always makes on campouts, some combination of chicken, sausage, potatoes, bread, cobbler, etc. Eating outside, on a picnic table, in gorgeous weather, overlooking the lake, surrounded by some of my favorite people… it makes the food taste even more extraordinary than it already is. I can’t imagine enjoying any meal more than I enjoy those Saturday night meals at campouts. Thank the Good Lord on High we are going camping next month! My mouth is already watering. Question: what is your favorite food or food experience?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I've been told that I should wear a poncho at all times.

1. I pulled out my amazing hazelnut coffee creamer from the fridge yesterday and gave a vigorous shake. Apparently the lid was slightly ajar... because then my kitchen was slightly punched in the face with hazelnut creamer.

2. I had the perfect second cup of coffee ready to accompany me to work today. We were all set to go. I had even managed to get the creamer into the cup. I grabbed the mug, my bags and my keys and went out the door. I pulled out my phone to call Val on the way to work and five minutes into my drive I realized that the coffee would not be making the trip with me. I'm looking forward to getting home tonight and discovering at which point my coffee left me. Is it: on the ledge of my stairs OR did I take off with it on the roof of my car? Oh the mystery of it all.

3. I told both of these stories to co-workers today and then proceeded to dump diet coke down my face.

4. I then decided to water my plant. FAIL. The plant did not want the water and sent it right back at me off the leaves... and onto my desk of books and paper.

5. The question now remains: can I make it through 2 flights tomorrow without getting anything on me? I'd take that bet.

**(The Internet gremlins ate this post up the first time, for whatever reason, so we're reposting it again for your enjoyment! --V)**

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Backyard Shenanigans

You will only find this video entertaining if you like cute kids, or think people falling down is funny. And really-- doesn't that cover pretty much everyone?

By way of explanation, this is my cousin Shannon's son Justin running around and basically being a 3-year old with my brother and cousin Dawson. S &J came to Tyler last week and we all had fun playing with Justin over at my grandparent's house. And it's probably a good thing that I took out the original audio, because mostly all it picked up was...my own laughter. Gotta love good times with family!

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'll be home for Thursday.

Life has been a little on the crazy side, but I'm pushing through with blogging. No stopping now. I'm trying to pack and do all of my regular weekend (Monday) things in preparation for FLYING TO TEXAS on Thursday. I get to see many of my favorite people while speaking at one of my favorite conferences.

I've been taking more photos than writing lately... so that's what you're going to get. The last week in photos... and no, it's not as exciting as SXSW or having AP as your wedding date... but it's a start.

  • Lucky Charms for our students during our St. Patty's day event.
  • Coffee dates.
  • Breakfast for dinner every Sunday = WIN.
  • My first Bonhoeffer read.
It just keeps getting better. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Low on Content, High on Awesome

Oh my gosh. Inspired by the cinematic masterpiece "A Goofy Movie." After Today LIVE:

Trailer for every Oscar-winning movie ever. HILARIOUS:

"Here It Goes Again," performed by a marching band. How cool is that??

Glee will be back soon. Glee will be back soon. GLEE will be back soon.

And... I know I've posted this like, probably 80 times before. But I can't help it!!! It's probably my favorite YouTube video of all time. Sigh... Love.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

God help the Mister.

Sisters, sisters
There were never such devoted sisters,
Never had to have a chaperone, No sir,
I'm here to keep my eye on her
Caring, sharing
Every little thing that we are wearing
When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome
She wore the dress, and I stayed home

All kinds of weather, we stick together
The same in the rain and sun
Two different faces, but in tight places
We think and we act as one
Those who have seen us
Know that not a thing could come between us

Many men have tried to split us up,
but no one can

Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister
And Lord help the sister, who comes between me and my man.

isters, Sisters by Irving Berlin.

Val and I grew up loving "White Christmas" and we've always had a bit of a bug for musicals - surprise! This song especially makes me laugh because of our own personal history as sisters.

1. We did in fact dress alike as children, but not out of our own choosing.

2. I despised when she would copy me. I remember collecting Coke tabs to win prizes. For some reason I think that we went to a local department store to cash in for the winnings. I was devastated when she selected the shirt I had just chosen. We both slept in our oversized Coke shirts for years.

3. Even though we are sisters, we do not always enjoy receiving the same gift for holidays. I do see the fairness and ease of these selections, however, we are two very different individuals and it just doesn't seem to work in every case.

4. I will say that we have the ability to make each other laugh than any other individual on the planet. See exhibit B, a g-chat, for details.

me: k i am sending you a new profile pic for you for facebook
Valerie: for me?
me: FOR MEEE. (for you)
Valerie: lol
me: just quoting myself
Valerie: thass for meeee
me: either one of these
Valerie: haha nice. too bad i don't have long hair anymore....
me: and that's a rule on facebook?
Valerie: haha true...
me: you have to look just like your picture? "WTH? Val's hair grew so fast!" lol
Valerie: lol
me: i am dying
Valerie: i dont doubt it!
me: everyone was like "what is your sister saying?"
Valerie: no one makes you laugh more than you....
me: and I said, oh no...it's me
Valerie: yeah. sounds about right.
me: is for meee
Valerie: lol wow
me: oh that was funny
Valerie: what would you do without you to make you laugh?
me: true statement... yes I still keep picturing someone looking at your fb pg and saying that
Valerie: lol shut up i didnt mean they would get confused
me: i know it just seemed silly to me
me: :)
Valerie: okay, im headed out catch you later!

Friday, March 19, 2010


I am learning so much in my current "Crazy Love" Bible study. I'd love to share a lot more about this book with you in the future- when I'm not preparing to be in Austin for JOEY'S WEDDING!!! But for now I just don't have the time to elaborate to the extent that this book deserves. I really can't recommend it enough.

In the meantime, I'll just leave you with this John Piper quote that Francis Chan included in this week's chapter:
“The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?”

Holy Brackets, Batman.

What a day for college basketball. Madness has begun.

I'm currently last place in my pool... but it's early. Anything can happen, right?

Sic 'Em Bears.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ice Cream Love

I ALMOST forgot that today? Is my blog day. Like, I had put the computer to sleep, Gilmore Girls was turned on, and I was about to get in bed. BUT! BLOG!

So at this point, I'm way to tired to be particularly verbose, or to elaborate on the awesomeness that was my trip to SXSW.

All I can tell you (for now) is that we went to this amazing ice cream place called Amy's, that HOW DID I NEVER KNOW THIS PLACE EXISTED?! The ice cream is delicious, but more importantly-- the guys? That scoop the ice cream? Are extraordinary. I was completely enraptured by their ability to toss, catch, and flip scoops of ice cream for each and every customer. At one point I was literally staring completely open-mouthed at the server who had just handed me my dish of Mexican vanilla ice cream after launching both it and the scooper into the air, catching the ice cream in the cup, and allowing the scooper to bounce back out on the counter. WHAT?!

I didn't take any pictures or video there, although not doing so ranks as one of the stupider things I've done in my life.

LUCKILY there's this site called YouTube. (Have you heard of it??? OMG.) Anyway, there are a couple videos there that demonstrate these insane ice cream skillz. Here's one.

LOVE it! Love it.

Love it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I trip. I spill things. I break things. I do it all on a daily basis. I used to think I was coordinated and perhaps even graceful. When I was a freshman theatre major I started taking dance classes again. I called my mom and asked her why they hadn’t continued my dancing career as a child. Her response? “You weren’t very good.” (I’m sure she is going to comment and say this isn’t the case… and I suppose I could be exaggerating.) I’ve come to grips with my clumsiness. Thankfully those nearest and dearest have too. As I dumped a plateful of rice on the floor two weeks ago, David was quick to surmise, “It’s a good thing you’re cute.”

So I apparently grabbed hold of that bit of encouragement and ran with it.

I took Sunday off from work so that I could visit David’s church for the first time. We had a great morning, went hiking in the mountains that afternoon and then returned to get ready for a nice dinner. I felt a little rushed as I did not want to be the one to make us late for dinner reservations.

While rushing the application of your shampoo is one thing... rushing with a new razor is ridiculously risky. I nicked my ankle and didn’t think much of it until I looked down and saw the blood. I decided to keep getting ready and just folded a piece of toilet paper over the wound. After all, that’s what men do, right? I obviously forgot about my ankle in the process, because post hair and make-up I proceeded to suit up – heels, hose, and dress. We left right on time and I was feeling pretty proud of myself until I gazed down at my ankle. The huge clump of toilet paper was mocking me from behind my tan hose. David offered to turn the car around, but I assured him I could make it work. I maneuvered the toilet paper down so that it was in my shoe. Problem solved.

Not so fast, Sydney Bristow.

What I didn't realize was that the moment I removed the toilet paper the cut started to bleed again. I couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't quite right. I snagged a piece of Kleenex out of my purse and held it on my ankle for a moment and then checked the damage. The amount of blood running down my foot was incredible for the size of the wound. I laughed sheepishly as David’s eyes widened. His immediate response, “Apply hard pressure for five minutes, now.” I obeyed.

Here's the situation: date in suit and tie, myself clad in a dress and heals, positive and encouraging K-Love calming the situation as we drive down the freeway towards a very nice dinner reservation and I cling to my ankle.

It's four minutes into applying pressure and my hand is starting to ache. “Well,” I boast, “At least I’ve gotten my most embarrassing moment with you out of the way. Heh-heh. Good thing I’m cute, right?”

“Most embarrassing? How about your baby crying noise? Do we really think that was second date material?”

Good news: the bleeding stopped, dinner was amazing, and he seems to like the fact that I’m ridiculous. Yesss.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I am SO READY...

For summer.

I love warm weather SO MUCH more than cold. With the slow arrival of spring, I am already dreaming of summer. I'm looking forward to time by the pool, wearing flip flops everyday, trips to the beach, and attempts at getting my tan back.

And hammocks.

Definitely hammocks.

Better late than never...


You may have noticed that we are trying to blog every day. So far we've missed only two days... and both have been my fault. My bad.

This is all I've got in an attempt to make things up. Just another manic Monday.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Arrested Development

I am so late to this party that there aren't even streamers up anymore.


Arrested Development? Is ridiculously hilarious and clever.

My brother Clay and I have been making our way through the seasons (hat tip to Ginger on the amazing Christmas gift of all three seasons!) and oh my word. I can't get enough.

Gob has been in my dreams.

In a meeting last week someone said we should get some text up on our website "to buy us" more time. I perked up because I thought he said "Tobias." Which is exactly the type of wordplay this show utilizes so brilliantly.

You should really watch it.

Why not? Are you...chicken?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Top Ten: because reheating leftovers is more convenient.

10. Crazy LOST theory from the crew I watch with: Passover. Does the massacre at the temple mirror Exodus chapter 12? Any thoughts?

9. Are you using GROUPON? I highly recommend it. I was so close to purchasing a hot air balloon ride around Christmas. Amazing coupons tend to have that effect on me. Another tempting item: trapeze lessons.

8. We talked about going to see “Alice in Wonderland” last weekend, but ended up renting “The Hurt Locker” instead. I haven’t read a single good review about Alice, but all of my teens are gushing about it on Facebook… apparently it’s epic. Worth going to see?

7. You knew the cast of California Dreams reunited on Jimmy Fallon, right? Oh my everything. Just checking.

6. I'm on my 3rd day of the 100 push up challenge. Valerie was sure her 17 year-old self would have defeated me and the program. I'm thinking my arms may fall off.

5. March to the madness. I feel so ill-prepared this year. I have until Tuesday to determine my bracket for the pool I entered. Anyone care to share their picks for the final four?

4. I was driving in heavy traffic this morning and a car kept pulling up beside me with their windows down and their bass pumping. It was so loud I was having trouble listening to KBAQ... that's right, my "Classical Companion." I was completely calm in the situation. I slowly rolled my windows down and turned up Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements. Is it normal that this made me feel like a bad-you-know-what?

3. I'm strongly considering purchasing tickets to this. Judge away.

2. The high in Phoenix will be 83 degrees next Wednesday.

1. The guy and I are reading some Bonhoeffer together, per a blog recommendation. I’m taking this quote with me today…

“How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?”

Thankful for the big and little things. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In Which I Officially Peace Out

Right now: packing packing packing.

Freaking early tomorrow: hitting the road to Austin.

Because: I get to go to SXSW Interactive! For work! I’m too excited.

I just realized: I forgot to print off my registration confirmation. Now I get to head to the office EVEN EARLIER. Way to go, Val! Ten points.

I’m not focusing very well here, if you couldn’t tell. But! Soon I will be attending crazily fascinating events that I am not nearly trendy enough to be attending, called things like “Negotiating the Parent/Teen Divide Over Social Networking,” “Mobile Content is Social,” and “Marketing Strategies for Social Wait Now I'm Lost.”

I’ll probably fit in really well at that last one.

It’s time: for me to go to bed.
See you on the flip side! ...You know. The one where I come back all nerdy and techy because SXSW Interactive is just so amazderfullyawestasticomgzqzxx.........

Brain fried.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Satisfy me not with the lesser of You
Find me no solace in shadows of the True
No ordinary measure of extraordinary means
The depths, the length, the breadth of You
And nothing in between.
Etch the words upon my heart, knowing all the while
No ordinary roadblocks plague extraordinary miles
Your power as my portion, Your glory as my fare
Take me to extremities
But meet me fully there.

-Beth Moore

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oscar Wrap-Up


The Oscars! They were on Sunday night! That happened!

And I'm still exhausted.

After church on Sunday, I ran around getting all my decorations and ballots and everything together for the big night. Then it was my weekly movie club ("Bonnie and Clyde" this time) and FINALLY time to start getting everything ready!

We had "Star Trek" on while decorating/cooking/filling out ballots. It is an Oscar-winning movie now, you know!

These are my "Up" flavored balloons. Aren't they so fun?

I also wore an Ellie badge like this one in support of my favorite nominated film:

There were Oscar ballots!

And Oscar crossword puzzles!

(And Oscar bingo, but I don't have a picture of that one!)

And prizes!

And pasta!

Oscar-themed napkins and glittery stars:

And the pièce de résistance... Blue Avatar drinks!

And finally.... the show.

Sigh. It was all wondrous.

Thanks to everyone who came to enjoy the fun!

And for the sake of the blog readers, I promise not to mention the Oscars again for at LEAST, like, 12 more days.

Hey, we've got to start talking about next years' awards sometime!

Monday, March 8, 2010


I know that kids say ridiculous things all the time.

Teenagers are just plain ridiculous, but I do love them. This past weekend we began a series walking through the book of Exodus with our 6th-12th graders. I taught on the first four chapters and in order to catch up on Israelite history I asked questions and they answered... or at least tried to.

Me: Can anyone tell me the name of the FATHER of the nation of Israel?
Student 1: Moses?
Me: Nope. He is part of the nation, but not the father.
Student 2: Reuben?
Me: Good memory, but he is actually one of the 12 tribes of Israel.
Student 3: Joseph?
Me: (starts singing) Father_____ had many sons, many sons had Father...
Me: Ok. Let's start at the beginning. There once was a man named Abram...

Me: ...So, Joseph is in Egypt and his father and brothers are back home. There is a famine throughout the entire world. Because of this famine... wait. Can anyone tell me what a famine is?
Student: A fish.
Me: Nope. I believe you're thinking of a marlin.

Me: Ok, so Pharaoh commands the midwives to actually kill the baby boys of the Israelites but to let the baby girls live. The midwives honor and love God, so they don't do it. Pharaoh speaks to the midwives again... wait... does anyone know what a midwife does?
Student: She's the second wife.
Me: Uh... nope... (*sigh*) a midwife...

Happy Monday and good luck getting "Father Abraham" out of your head.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

3rd Annual Oscar Picks

So it begins.

(Cue lightning/thunder/crazy end-of-the-world type weather. And uruk-hai.)

It’s time once again for me to announce my highly-anticipated, never wrong* Oscar picks! Read on for my thoughts on all 24 categories, and GET EXCITED! The Academy Awards are tomorrow, people!

Best Picture
: After spending quite a bit of time trying to understand the new preferential voting system that I mentioned earlier this week (the best explanation is here) and how it would impact the vote, I feel all the more confident in selecting “The Hurt Locker” as the big winner. It may not be every voter's number one choice, but it won’t be very many people’s number ten choice, like I think “Avatar” might be. If this were an ordinary year with a traditional ‘majority rules’ method, I think “Avatar” might just have it, but too many Academy voters have a strong dislike for it. In the end, I’ll be surprised if anything but “The Hurt Locker” takes it.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow will be the first female to ever win an Academy Award for directing. About time, right? If she doesn’t win for “The Hurt Locker” (and I feel pretty certain she will), I could see Quentin Tarantino taking home the gold before I could see James Cameron walking away with it. But it’ll be one of those three!

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges has this thing in the bag. A very deep, crazy-glued shut bag. He’s a super well-liked actor, and the Academy is awarding him as much for his entire career as for “Crazy Heart.”

Best Actress: I never thought I would ever in a million years say this, but here goes: I predict that Sandra Bullock will win an Oscar for Best Actress. Can you believe that? I mean, I do love me some Sandy (“While You Were Sleeping” anyone?), but… I don’t know. I didn’t think she was as crazy amazing in “The Blind Side” as everyone else seems to. But she’s kind of America’s sweetheart right now, and tomorrow night that’ll be enough for her to beat out runner-up Meryl Streep’s splendid performance in “Julie and Julia.”

Supporting Actor: I hope Christoph Waltz’s acceptance speech for “Inglourious Basterds” isn’t as long-winded and bizarre as his other’s have been this awards season, as he’s won about a persquillion Best Supporting Actor trophies. But I’m sure he’s practiced, because he’s virtually guaranteed a win for his ridiculously creepy/hilarious/unsettling portrayal of half-crazy/all-awesome Nazi colonel Hans Landa.

Supporting Actress: This is the one category that I had to skip writing about and come back to later. I saw "Precious" two months ago and still can't put into words how incredible I found Mo'Nique's turn as the demented and abusive mother to be. She absolutely blew me away, and I saw no better acting performance in 2009. If I continue with the praise of Mo'Nique as Mary in "Precious" (and I very easily could), it would soon grow in length and overtake this entire blog entry, so I'll end by simply saying: Mo'Nique will win this category.

Animated Feature: The rule is typically: don’t bet against Pixar. This year is no different, but not because it’s Pixar, but because it’s “Up.” “Up” is the first film since “Beauty and the Beast” to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, which is a pretty significant feat, even if there is an expanded category this year. That really says something about “Up,” and even though it won’t win in its fight with the big guys, it will most certainly beat out the other nominees in the Animated Feature category.

Art Direction: You saw “Avatar,” right? So…you really shouldn’t be wondering why I’m picking it in this category.

Cinematography: Or this one. Because…hi. “Avatar.”

Costume Design: To quote, um, me from last year: “…the Academy loves them some corsets,” and “The Duchess” did indeed win. So I’ll stick by that logic and go with “The Young Victoria.”

Editing: This is one of the categories I’ve really been struggling with this time around. Last year I just went with my Best Picture winner and that strategy worked out, but “Slumdog” was such a sure bet in the BP category! This time around, everything surrounding “Avatar” and “Hurt Locker” is so jumbled up, and I just don’t know what to do! However, since I’m naming it up top in the Best Picture category, I think I’ll just stick with “The Hurt Locker.”

Makeup: The word is that the Academy likes Fantasy and Sci-Fi for this category, which makes sense. Seems like they’d be more likely to acknowledge big over-the-top makeup than the subtler fare you’d see in something like “The Young Victoria.” “Star Trek” it is!

Original Score: Ah, score of my life! So looking forward to seeing Michael Giacchino (who also writes the music for “Lost”) win for his amazing, fantastic, wondrous, dazzling work on “Up.”

Original Song: I really loved ‘Almost There’ from “The Princess and the Frog,” and listen to it pretty much all the time (Well, when I’m not listening to “Up.”). However, I think this award is going to ‘The Weary Kind’ from “Crazy Heart.”

Original Screenplay: Quentin should get some Oscar love in this category, if nothing else. Who else could turn a World War II film into some sort of bizarre, wishful fantasy? No one, that’s who. Check the “Inglourious Basterds” box on your ballots, kids.

Adapted Screenplay: Poor “Up in the Air.” Despite being an early favorite for Best Picture, it has lost so. Much. Steam. But writer/director Jason Reitman will pick up “Up in the Air’s” only win of the evening in this category, if nothing else.

Sound Mixing: Even though “The Hurt Locker” had some really good bomb sounds, my gut tells me to throw all technical awards in the “Avatar” pile.

Sound Editing: So by default, this award goes to “Avatar” as well.

Visual Effects: If there’s any such thing as a sure bet at the Academy Awards this year, it’s that “Avatar” will win the Oscar for Visual Effects. Done and done.

Documentary Feature: “The Cove,” “The Cove,” “The Cove.” “The Cove.”

Documentary Short: Although “China’s Unnatural Disaster” sounds like Oscar bait of the purest kind, I think voters might go for a more local human interest story in the form of “The Last Truck.” I think.

Foreign Language Film: I’ve heard a lot about “The White Ribbon” this year, and haven’t heard anything about the other nominees. So… I think I’ll stick with “The White Ribbon!”

Live-Action Short: I am torn between a stack of movies that I’ve barely heard of. But I’ve seen a few people mention “Miracle Fish,” so let’s go with that.

*Not highly anticipated, and actually quite frequently wrong.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Finish Line

6.4 miles deserved waffles.
Apparently the miles deserved lots and lots of waffles. This recipe doesn't play around. Mom sent the recipe yesterday so I could have something to work towards while I ran. Yes, food is an excellent source of bribery.

(From Light & Delish magazine)


3 cups flour
1 1/2 T. sugar
3 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
3 eggs, beaten
3 T. melted butter
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 c. milk
3/4 t. vanilla

oil or Pam for the griddle.

Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing b9owl and stir, using a whisk, to thoroughly combine.
Add egg, melted butter, buttermilk, milk and vanilla to mix and stir until just combined (MOST important to NOT overstir - batter will be lumpy!).
Let mixture rest for 1 to 2 minutes. (For waffles, spray waffle iron w/ high temperature PAM or baste with canola oil.) Heat griddle over high heat until hot. Reduce heat to medium-low. Lightly brush griddle with canola oil.
Pour 1/3 c. batter for each pancake (1/2 c. for each waffle), leaving 2 inches between each one. Cook until bubbles form on the pancake surface and the underside is golden, about 5 minutes. (Leave waffles to cook until they quit steaming.)
Flip pancakes and cook until golden, about 2 more minutes.

*This recipe will make 18 pancakes or 7-8 waffles. (you will *most probably want to cut the recipe by 1/3 or 2/3 if you are cooking just for the 2 of you.)

Yes, we *most probably* should have done that. Instead I ate a half of a waffle for every mile I ran.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Photo Play

This picture was taken for Empire Magazine's 20th Anniversary. It was part of a series of photos of actors returning to their most iconic roles. Here's Sean Bean and Viggo Mortenson, returning to "The Fellowship of the Ring."

This is part of a series that was done to promote "Coraline," one of my very favorite films of the year. They did a whole alphabet set, with different pictures for each letter.
Here, see? This is the whole thing. Gorgeous.

This guy has a whole series of seriously clever graphics. Check it out.

This set of old-fashioned travel posters were made in promotion of the DVD release of "Up." Is it any wonder that I love them?

This guy takes his inspiration from kids' pictures and paints them to look as realistic as possible. Isn't he amazing?

Hilarious. For more, visit PassiveAggressiveNotes.com.

All for now. Have a happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fine. I give up.

Hi. I'm Ginger, and I've had just enough of a ridiculous experience with on-line dating to feel comfortable blogging about it.

I signed up for Match.com when I first moved to Phoenix. It was comical. Really comical. Like "While You Were Sleeping" or "Cold Comfort Farm" crazy characters. I went on dates with two different guys.

THE FIRST: A police officer with chocolate cupcake on face throughout the entire date. HSW (for those of you who speak PC). The second date I took back-ups with me: my friend and her son. My date ate her son's nachos... just leaned over me and ate them off the kids plate.

THE SECOND: Clingy? Is that what I'm looking for? I received a poem on our second date. A very thoughtful gift that was read to me atop a mountain as we looked over the Phoenix sky line. When I broke things off after the third date there were some tears. Oh no, no. Not me. Him.

I'm not sure why I tried to have that conversation in the car while we were still 20 minutes from my house. But he asked... "So, you think we can do this again?" [Blood pumping so loudly in my brain that I'm guessing he can hear it.] I don't want to lie, so I reply, "I don't... think so." I prayed feverishly for the rapture the entire ride home. It did not come. What did come was an e-mail the next day that read, "I heard the song 'You're Beautiful' by James Blunt on the radio today and I shed a tear for you. But that's what stuff like this does to me."

I took a break.

One year and just one date later (a very nice welder who really liked to talk about welding) and I decided to listen to what the commercials were telling me... try eharmony. Heck - I knew at least five happily married couples who had met that way. I told myself, "I work with kids. I'm not ever going to step foot into a club. I would like to go on a date in my 20's." I took the forever long test and ended up in dialogue with a very nice classical musician... from Dallas. I always thought I might return to Texas one day... it calls to me like a lighthouse every few months. We talked on the phone for a while and things were great - but we didn't actually meet. Soon he sent the anticipated message that "as great as this is, I'm going to date someone I can see." I couldn't fault the guy, but I abandoned my account and the hopes of meeting someone in Arizona.

I've dated since then - but just hadn't found it. This past July I turned down an amazing job at one of my favorite places on earth that would have subsequently taken me back to Texas. I was convinced that God had me here in the desert to see things through. I started my job in the youth department, jumped back on stage in "Camelot", began planning for an in-house girl's conference, and made preparations to travel to Mozambique with the church. I felt like God had showered opportunity and blessing in spades! But, if you've read any of my blog entries from this past fall - you know that valleys tend to follow peaks.

The end of September found me discouraged, opportunities removed, and with loneliness entering the picture in a very real and palpable way. I turned my hands out to the Lord and asked like the Israelites, "Have you brought us to the desert to die?" God didn't lead them out of Egypt to make them hungry. The truth is that sacrifice on my part really serves to allow God to provide in HIS way, not just in the way I desire. So I started eating up the Psalms and I got out of the way.

October 9th, on a whim, I signed up for 3 months of eharmony. It was on sale... who could blame me? All I wanted was one normal date. I didn't over think it. I just did it. And on October 10th I was matched with him. Two weeks later a girlfriend wanted to check out what an eharmony profile looked like. And gosh darn it... she knew him. She had gone to high school with his sister and even lived with his family. She told me to go ahead and let him have the phone number he had asked for. So I did.

ME: "Why did you keep me in Arizona? You took everything away that you had given me!"
GOD: "Just wait."
ME: "Maybe I should just move back to Texas and find a job later."
GOD: "Just wait."
ME: "Maybe I could... wait a second."
GOD: "Good plan. You're welcome."

Thank you. Oh dear Lord, thank you.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lost My Mind

Okay, so tonight's episode of "Lost" is probably the best one of the season so far. Definitely my favorite of these first six episodes. Just...dang.

I don't want to ruin this for those who haven't seen it yet (ie my sister), BUT I must mention that when a certain person was revealed? Cooking eggs? I screamed and jumped up on my couch and had to pause the show to recover a little bit before I could even think about continuing to watch. (Luckily my brother was watching with me and was able to push play for me, amidst much eye-rolling at my theatrics I am sure.)

Anyway. I've been waiting for a while to have my mind blown by a returning character, and tonight's was so unexpected, random, and AWESOME that I now have a hole in the back of my head. From the mind-blown-ness.

Not to build anything up for you or anything....

The ending? Super creepy. I'll never listen to that song the same again. GAH!

For some unknown reason I ended all the craziness of the episode holding both my television remotes to the sides of my face.

Head over to http://darkufo.blogspot.com/ for a ton of really well-written Lost recaps. A writer called Vozzek is by far the best-- he always catches things I've missed, and made connections I never would have come up with in a quirrillion years. Don't miss it. No pun intended....

In conclusion... What?

(Zero "Lost" spoilers involved in this video, by the way!)

Monday, March 1, 2010

One giant leap.

Today I ran.
Today I ran for one hour and one minute. That's the longest stretch of time I've ever run.
Today I ran 6 miles without stopping. That's the longest distance that I've ever run. Ever.

This Saturday I will run my first 10k race. I started the year intending to run a 1/2 marathon this spring. I began running in October, by myself, and without any sort of a training program. I trained while listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" and "This American Life" podcasts. My pace was all over the place. I was plagued by knee pain and lack of motivation, but I stuck with it... at least enough to sign up for a 10k.

Today, I traded the podcasts for a new iTunes playlist. It was great. It kept me focused and on target time wise. I'm planning on running the race with music. The only problem is that I have song A.D.D. I stuck it out to the end today, but I'm nervous for Saturday. I need new songs. I have running fever and the only cure is good music.

Help. I need 18 new songs for Saturday. What do you recommend?