Friday, October 30, 2009


I've been rockin' it to this CD the past few days. Oh, how I love me some Regina Spektor and all of her quirky, catchy tunes...

So much to post, so little time...

I know my posting has been a bit sporadic lately, so I thought I would give you a head's up of what's to come this weekend! Oh yes, I'll hopefully get a few new posts up about...

*the cutest Halloween costume EVAH (I might be a bit biased since I spent hours upon hours as a slave to the sewing machine whilst my house plunged into a pit of destruction)

*the photo workshop I attended last weekend (Can I get a woot-woot for the fact that I finally tamed that beast of a camera I own and can now shoot manually?!)

*Harry and Sally (well, just because they are the coolest cats in town and because you probably haven't seen pics of them since they were babies and now they are all growed up big toilet-paper-eating kittens)

*meeting the infamous Ree, that ever-so-popular fellow Okie of mine that just released a new cookbook this week

and whatever else random stuff that is floating around in my head. Because if I'm nothing else, I'm random.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Forget the big "L" tattooed on my forehead...

...'cause I really am a winner. Ha!

Today I was catching up on my blog-reading (because, of course, I have nothing better to do, you understand, and my house is perfectly clean and I have absolutely nothing else of importance I need to be working on). Imagine my surprise when I saw my name on a winner's list!

I am a huge fan of The Farm Chicks, er, now that would be only one chick, as in the lovely and uber-talented Serena, and I have purchased several copies already of their cookbooks to give away as gifts to a few lucky new brides, but I still hadn't bought one for myself. Lo and behold, no more will I have to do without -- I am now the proud owner of a copy just for me!

If you just can't stand being without your own copy either, you can get one here.


I'm glad the movie critics and I never seem to see eye-to-eye.

Because if I listened to them every time, I'd miss out on so many magical movies,

including this one...

One word can sum up this movie and the amazing lady it tells the story of:


Beautiful lady. (Both Amelia Earhart and Hilary Swank.)

Beautiful men. (Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor are delightful.)

Beautiful music. (Bravo to Rachel Portman, the brilliant woman who is responsible for composing some of my favorite film scores.)

Beautiful scenery.

Beautiful set and costumes and props. Gleaming silver airplanes, those were my favorite.

And too many beautiful quotes to remember. The Amelia portrayed in the movie was so kind and seemed so genuinely happy and full of life, and so many phrases she spoke were quite inspiring.

Forget the critics and take it from me -- a movie not to be missed on the big screen.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The fur is a-flyin'.

Just popping my little head in to tell you I'm here and still alive (in case you were wondering, which you probably were not). The fur has been flyin' round these parts with costume making, and thankfully a huge catastrophe was skirted today thanks to Goodwill.

{Insert a resounding hip-hip-hooray for the thrift store.)

Later today I will commence with my first ever Project Runway-inspired creation, which, of course, I will take pictures of and post sometime soon, as long as it all works out according to plan, that is. If it doesn't work out, you will find my tear-stained and thread-and-lint-covered self at the nearest psychiatric treatment facility.

As Mr. Gunn would say, it's time to make it work.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not so laffy.

Good times.

There is a big wad of Laffy Taffy stuck on the inside of my dryer.

Before panic sets in, the good news is that it hasn't been damaging my clothes. That would mean that the bad news is that it is like hardened concrete, and I have no earthly idea how one might go about getting it off. Seriously, the heat from the dryer isn't melting it onto our clothes like you would think. The heat from the dryer seems to be heat-setting it on there even stronger...

Where is ol' Heloise with her helpful hints when I need her? I'm guessing there might not be a helpful hint regarding Laffy Taffy in the dryer, but hey, you never know.

And just for the record, that would not be moi who gave the Laffy Taffy to the person in question in this household that stands under four feet tall. I'm assuming it would be my bribe-loving hubby.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Holy terrors (literally)

Lord have mercy.

This morning ended up being quite the adventure for me.

As some of you know, my profession in life is that of a pianist. I only work part-time since my full-time gig is that of being a mama, but I do work anywhere between 3 and 10 hours on a given week. It's not much, but it's extra money and a great way to keep up my piano skills.

One of my part-time gigs is actually on Sundays. Every Sunday we get up, get ready for church, take two cars to our church where we attend the early service and Sunday School, and then we split. My husband picks my son up from his class, and they go do whatever floats their boat for an hour while I hurry down a few blocks to another church where I accompany one of the children's choirs for that hour. You could say I get "extra-churched" on Sundays, haha. Usually we are just in one of the rehearsal rooms, but once every month or two, the children are scheduled to sing up in the late service. Because it is a different denomination than my church, I've enjoyed learning a few new things. (Both churches are of the Christian faith, but denominations can still have several different ways of doing things or different focuses, etc.)

Today was a normal rehearsal day (or so I thought), so I left my Sunday School class ten minutes early to drive to the other church. I walked in with a few minutes to spare just like every other week since I don't like to be late, and was shocked to find them in robes getting ready to walk up to the sanctuary. This church is quite formal compared to what I am used to -- all musicians wear robes (along with the clergy), it is a very traditional service, and there is lots of participation from the congregation as far as readings and such. Oh, and it is televised in our little city. Yep, when I walked in, that room full of little robes was a dead giveaway that I had totally missed the boat somehow.

I had no idea they were scheduled to sing in the service, had somehow never been told of this date, but nevertheless I felt terrible that I had made the poor choir director worry about whether or not I was going to show up because, had I known about it, I would have been there thirty minutes early and able to rehearse them. I am quite OCD when it comes to schedules, so it would have been on my calendar for sure. In fact, just last week I had been wondering when they would be singing next, but we went out of town (so I wasn't at this last Sunday's rehearsal), and I figured she'd let me know this week when the next performance would be.

But you know, things happen, occasionally there is miscommunication, life happens. No biggie. As an accompanist, I have had more than my fair share of times when I have had to go with the flow in an instant, so I threw on a robe, grabbed the music handed to me by the director and went upstairs. I sat down at the front of the sanctuary by myself, followed along in the service, and when it was time, slipped quietly up to the piano bench and opened the music. The director nodded to me, and I began the introduction. I love the song they were singing, although we hadn't rehearsed it the previous few weeks I had been there. Thankfully it was an easy one to play, so I plodded along...

...until my page-turner turned the first page, and HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM. The music she handed me skipped from page 4 to PAGE 9. Oh yeah, friends, FOUR WHOLE PAGES OF MUSIC were missing from this copy. In all my 20 years or so of accompanying (and yes, I mean 20+ years because my mom had me accompanying church choirs starting in late elementary school), I can't really remember having this happen before, missing pages in a piece of music. I've had music drift off the stand during performances, I've had page inserts be turned upside down or out of order, etc., so if I've had it happen before, there's probably at least been another choir member standing near with their copy that I could somehow signal and grab after a few measures or that sort of thing. This time, however, no back-up plan at all. And let me just say, this wasn't exactly the type of church service you want this to happen during. At our church, if the kiddies sing, it's usually on a Sunday night where everything is very laid-back and wayward kids picking their noses or waving at their parents or even crying while standing up there will get chuckles out of the crowd.

The whole time my hands were moving across the keys playing the last few measures of page 4 before it would soon drift into the Black Hole of who-knows-what-in-tarnation-they-would-be-singing-for-four-whole-pages, my mind was racing. Is there a way to tell the director? (Man, we should've established some system of eye-winks and nose-wiggles or something.) Will they have to stop the song in front of the whole congregation and all of Local TV Land? What in the world was I supposed to come up with for FOUR WHOLE PAGES? Pianists are pretty good multi-taskers -- I can sight-read music while thinking up a grocery list with the best of them, so I was trying my best to come up with some sort of solution in my head while my fingers kept moving.

There really seemed to be no solution that wouldn't involve total humiliation and embarrassment on my part, so I did what any self-respecting pianist would do. I kept playing. Above all, I kept that rhythm going. Made up chords I thought could be in there. Boom-chucked my way up and down the keyboard. And prayed. Prayed with my whole being that they would hurry up and get to PAGE NINE. This is where the Bible verse about "making a joyful noise unto the Lord" comes into play -- it may not have been the right chords, it may not have sounded right, but by golly, with that smile plastered on my face to cover my terror, it sure was a joyful noise! Got quite a few interesting and frustrated looks from the poor music director who at that point was probably wondering if I'd lost my marbles, but thankfully kept going as well. And since little kids, as we all know, can be pretty unpredictable, especially when it comes to something that is performance-based, if the congregation suspected anything at all, they probably thought it was that the little kids didn't know where they were in the music and that I was having to compensate. Haha, at least that's what I hope.

Thank heavens page 9 finally surfaced, and we got caught up. After the song ended and the children were all filing out to their seats in the congregation I tried whispering to the director what had happened. I hurried out of there, thankful to have the rest of the time off to breathe a huge sigh of relief, and, wouldn't you know, I even got a few compliments on my playing from the unsuspecting parents in the hallway who had stood at the back to catch the performance.

Ha. Guess who's going to be checking and double-checking her copy of music from this point forward?

Can't wait!

I saw this over on Alexis' blog and had to share. It's snippets of the movie trailer set to a fun little catchy song that isn't a problem if it gets in your head. :) I'm very much looking forward to this movie, although my secret confession is that I never read this book as a child. Seriously. Me. The biggest bookworm child there could have been -- never read this one. So obviously my boy and I have some catching up to do before the movie debuts October 16th!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oh heavens.

A couple of months ago, I received a coupon in the mail for a free pint of Starbucks ice cream. I can't remember how I exactly got this coupon, but I want to say it was something to do with clicking on something on Facebook and ending up with a coupon to give to a friend (er, um, I'm a good friend to myself, apparently).

I found the coupon the other day and happened to stumble upon some Starbucks ice cream in the freezer case at the Walmart Supercenter. (See? Some good things can come out of Walmart.)

Oh dear me.

The Caramel Macchiato ice cream? It is divine. Just a spoonful (or two) at a time, maybe once or twice a day doesn't hurt. Nope, doesn't hurt at all.

Heck, if you're going to have a little junk in the trunk, you might as well get there in style...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Move over, Siskel and Ebert

Before I forget, I saw this one a few weeks ago, and it's worth checking out as well. Typical romantic little movie, but good nonetheless. I especially liked the Seattle setting and Jennifer Aniston's cute outfits. Who doesn't love Jennifer Aniston? Seriously, she really seems like a nice girl, and ever since her trend-setting haircut debuted on Friends, I think we were all in love.

And it looks like it will be a great movie-watching weekend at my house. I have these three movies checked out from the library and plan on parking my derriere on the sofa in some comfy sweats. Of course, they are all FREE from the library! Who doesn't love FREE?

Valentino: The Last Emperor (for my Project Runway-loving self)

Grey Gardens

Coco Chanel


New Christian music that I LOVE.
(Oh yeah, believe it, sister, I just used "Christian music" and "love" in the same sentence!)

If the Christian music market would start discovering more new artists like these gals, it would be the perfect marriage between my love for Indie music and the Word of God. 'Cause lately, I've only been loving the Indie music, and not the other. Come on, Christian music industry, find me some more!

(A big shout-out to my beloved iTunes for this fun new discovery -- one of their singles is the free Discovery Download, but after I heard them, I downloaded the whole album. These chicks are right up my alley.)

Check them out -- Tal & Acacia.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Whip it.

Whip it good.

This was my guilty pleasure today. A $4-11am-no-kids-in-sight-much-needed-mama-time guilty pleasure.

If you've ever dreamed of being a roller derby girl, it's for you. (But keep in mind, it's not for your 11-year-old. There's some language and other reasons for that PG-13 rating.)

I always thought it would be too fun to be a roller derby girl, well, minus the bruises and sprains and broken limbs. Roller skates and cute (and funky) outfits? That's my cup o' tea. What if someone formed a new type of roller derby league, maybe minus the body checks and crude parts, and more, oh, you know, squeaky-clean-Anthropologie-styled-goodness on wheels?

I'd be the first to sign up.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Is there a ribbon in my future?

Bah. I don't give up that easily. Especially when the idea of having to spend large amounts of money (for computer services) looms largely over my head.

That being said, I got a few of my pictures downloaded, at least mostly the ones I wanted. And I've finally started deleting, one-by-one, mind you, the duplicate photos from my iPhoto program that started out numbering at 44494. No, I am not kidding about that number. And no, I haven't really taken that many photos. The real number of photos I have stored on there should number somewhere in the 2000-3000 range, but unfortunately, my iPhoto program has problems. Obviously. After a couple of hours last night, it now numbers at 43712. Progress! Over the last several months there have been some close calls with almost losing the whole set, and we've had to transfer them back and forth from the laptop to my external hard drive, and in the process, iPhoto has wigged out on me and started duplicating the heck out of them. The good news is that I at least have all my photos still. The bad news is that I have all of my photos and then some.

The good folks at our local Apple store told me that I could easily solve this problem by upgrading to the Leopard operating system. Okay, I say. No wait, they say, oh sorry, that system won't upgrade on your specific laptop. Looks like your best bet would be buying a whole new laptop!

Golly gee whiz, good folks at Apple, here. Let me just shell out a couple grand that I have burning a hole in my pocket. And let me be wasteful and dump an otherwise perfectly good laptop that is only 2 or 3 years old on the earth and get a whole new one while kids are starving in Africa because that would show I am being a great steward of God's money.

See where this is all going?

Yep, I'm not giving up. I'm going to push my little MacBook as long as it will go. Run, baby, run. Download, baby, download...

Finally, without further adieu, the STATE FAIR QUILTS!!!!! (Click on them to see them in much closer detail.)

Here is my Old Red Barn Quilt-along quilt from this summer. I got it back from the long-arm quilters, Russ and Rhonda, just in the nick of time with approximately 24 hours to get the binding on, a label slapped on the back, and it turned into the good State Fair folks for judging the next day. There are also two sham fronts waiting to be sewn into, well, shams, duh...

It's kinda crazy with all the colors, so that's why I picked the darker grey for a border. I named it "Punky Brewster Grows Up". No, really, I did. It's on the label and everything! (Anyone else love that show growing up?) This quilt measures somewhere at 84"x96" or something like that, big enough to fully drape the full bed in my guest room. And the fabric is from my favorite fabric lady, that crazy talented Anna Maria Horner.

And the backside, a bit more modern...

And the quilt that nearly made me throw my sewing machine and all my common sense out the window, the Oklahoma Centennial Celebration Quilt.

My mom picked this quilt kit up after having seen it on a local television news show. Thing is, my mom doesn't quilt. She bought it thinking I would make it! I told her, sure, as long as you are my willing assistant. It is an "8 month block-of-the-month" pattern -- which means it took us all of, let's see, 6, no, 12, no, 15, no...hmmm, let's just say it took us over a year and a half probably, to get this sucker done, and it's only done today because I pushed us to get it done in time to enter in the State Fair. (My little procrastinating self works well under deadlines.)

It's not necessarily my favorite style of quilt that I normally gravitate towards, but I sure do love it now that we put all of that hard work into it. I did most of the piecing. My mom was the ironing mistress, a whiz with the scissors on cutting out the appliques, and the hand-embroiderer for embellishing most of those appliques with blanket stitching. And a local woman did all the custom quilting on her long-arm machine, which is all gorgeous and well-thought out.

See that little line of tiny paper-pieced log cabin blocks at the bottom? Although I may or may not have cursed them while I was doing all 13 of them, they really weren't very difficult and ended up being my favorite blocks. And they may or may not have to do with my quilt block packages I just mailed out to all my online quilting bee ladies...

Tune in next time for more sewing adventures with Valerie! (You'll have to find out if we won ribbons or not, remember?!) Oh yeah, tune in soon because this isn't all I've been running through my machine lately...