Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Somnambulists of Christmases Past that Make the Christmas Present Merry

As I drove home to Mississippi from Atlanta this afternoon the sun was setting in a partially cloudy sky. I had Christmas music playing on my radio, and the sunroof was up. I began to think about why it is that I love Christmas so much. As I began to think I realized that Christmas is packed full of some of the greatest memories. Every year they come back through various traditions and moments to make the season merry. So, I decided to write some of my favorite Christmas memories, things, or snapshots (if you will) in no particular order (40 to be exact). I’m sure I will forget some, and I would love you to add some with your comments! Feel free to add moments that we shared or even a few of your own favorite memories of Christmas!

1. My third Christmas is one of my earliest memories. I received my E. T. stocking and doll as well as my loveseat and a couple of books. Walking down the stairs and finding an E. T. stocking stuffed with all kinds of fruit, candy and nuts was the highlight of the season for me that year.
2. My dad telling us to put socks on our feet so we didn’t catch a cold
3. Molly, our cousin Stephanie, and I would all get matching nightgowns at my Mawmaw Smith’s house. After shooting fireworks, we would all three put them on, take a picture and wear them home where our fathers carried our sleeping bodies into our respective houses.
4. Kirsten and Amy’s plate of goodies that they made for us every year of college. They spent all day cooking goodies for us so that we could have something good to eat in the dorm.
5. A tin of Mrs. Carolyn’s Scrabble
6. Christmas day growing up we would go to Mimi and Grandaddy’s house where Santa always left us a stocking (or brown paper bag in later years) full of more goodies! Santa always put small toys in those stockings!
7. Running up my phone bill helping Jonathan pick out Christmas presents for his family so that year they wouldn’t get a t-shirt from whichever random town he was living in at the time.
8. My mother always makes bachelor’s brunch on Christmas morning. It’s the only time of the year she makes it…and I love it!
9. Christmas in the Cotton Patch!
10. Similarly, the golf club Christmas parties at rotating houses followed by going to Christmas in the Cotton Patch (and of course the year that somebody bumped their car door into Daddy’s brand new van).
11. Sleeping with Molly on Christmas Eve so that we could be closer to downstairs and could run down to see our presents as soon as we were allowed. We would giggle all night long before waking Jeff up at about 4 to begin rotating who would ask if it was time yet!
12. Calling Mr. Vance about a week or a week and a half before Christmas to see if he could scrounge around to find us a decent Christmas tree!
13. My mother’s strength on the Christmas after Daddy died. Our happiness was more important to her than all of our loss, and she did everything she could to make that Christmas as good as it could be. We all over-spent on gifts that year thinking that more stuff would lessen the hurt. Unlike ever before, that Christmas I learned how little presents had to do with the meaning and joy of Christmas.
14. Swapping ornaments with the golf club
15. My Mawmaw Smith’s yellow cake with Chocolate icing and my Pawpaw’s buck dance that seemed to be staples of Christmas Eve.
16. This year when I asked Charlie what he wanted from Santa, he replied, “An orange Spongebob and cupcakes.” We walked through the fact that an orange Spongebob doesn’t exist. He said Santa was magic, and he could make it happen. Then I asked him if he told Santa to let Mrs. Clause know he wanted cupcakes. He looked at me with the sweetest grin and said, “Yibby, I don’t need Mrs. Clause. You can make them for me!”
17. Buying the perfect paper and ribbons so that whoever opened a gift from me knew that it came not from my wallet but from my heart and time. I want my gifts to be pretty!
18. One of my recent favorites has been baking with my mother
19. Running into DiAnne around midnight at Walmart at some point before Christmas day
20. My parents sitting in the den with only the Christmas tree lights on listening to records, and my dad using my leg as a guitar as I sat in his lap.
21. My great-grand parents, Mawmaw and Pawpaw Dewey, coming to Mimi and Grandaddy’s house for Christmas day
22. Spending Christmas Eve lunch at Mimi and Grandaddy’s watching As the World Turns and waiting on mom and dad to finish up last minute Christmas shopping, wrapping or assembling.
23. The year it snowed on Christmas Eve and plans had to be changed. We ended up doing Christmas at Mawmaw’s and Pawpaw’s a week later. Jeff Cunningham came and brought his guitar. Our whole family sat around singing Christmas Carols, oldies, and a little Merle.
24. Last year Charlie walked into a den strewn with toys only to look around and say, “Where’s my Spongebob cake?!”
25. As a child I looked forward to getting Effinbee dolls from Mimi and State tshirts or other memorabilia from Aunt Kathy
26. Jeff’s pure excitement on Charlie’s first Christmas. For the first time in about a decade, Jeff was no longer the only man in the family. It didn’t matter to him that Charlie was only 16 days old!
27. When Jonathan was living in California, I always looked forward to the day after Christmas because JD would be in Jackson and I would be out of school. For a whole week we could hang out, watch movies, wish Happy Kwanza to people, and catch up.
28. My mother made our stockings out of a quilt MawMaw Dewey made from Pawpaw Dewey’s old suits. I love the heritage of them, but I also love how Momma made each one unique and contemporary with our names and different trim.
29. As we got older, gift opening no longer became a free for all. Instead we open one present at a time in a circle, and we all clap and praise the gift and its giver! It gives us a chance to take it all in, and it takes HOURS for us to open presents. It ends up being a good excuse to all sit in a circle, laugh, cry, cheer, and tell funny stories.
30. Every year Molly and I go nuts buying for each other. The benefit of being best friends with your sister is that you know them all too well. So, you always see something that they would want or love. Molly and I never have to tell each other what we want. What we want is what the other finds and thinks, “She’s GOT to have that!”
31. Going to look at Christmas lights with my friends. On different years, Amy, Kirsten, Travis, Heather, Wes and Jonathan and I would round up and make fun of the various displays of lights, blowups, and wooden figurines. There was always that one house past the Devore’s and the one house that took us forever to find every year that was so respectable it made the Griswolds look like the Grinch!
32. Singing "Merry Christmas from the Family" with Molly! We usually get in the car for a Walmart run and sing as loud as we can through every single word of the song emphasizing our favorite parts with fist pumps and extra loud yells! Every year…without fail, Molly tells me the story about Scott Branning loving Robert Earl Keene.
33. Going to Jeff’s house for breakfast in our pajamas Christmas morning. What started out as a compromise for all grandparents has turned into a wonderful gathering of our family and Lauren’s.
34. Last year I had a 24-hour stomach bug on Christmas Eve, and Molly made me wear a dental mask so that I didn’t infect the rest of the family. She and Momma wouldn’t let me come down and be with them until I wore the mask, and then after four hours of me wearing a mask in order to be with them, Molly tells me she was just kidding about the mask all along!
35. Aunt Kathy reminding me every Christmas, while I’m handing out the plethora of presents, that as the youngest she spent her whole life doing it until I came along.
36. I always wait for the annual Christmas call from Kirsten. For the last ten years, Kirsten has always called on Christmas day. No matter where she’s lived, she’s called. The years it was from Tanzania or Israel, the whole family would stop what they were doing while my mom yelled, “IT’S KIRSTEN FROM [Insert country]!!!” They all sat around and talked about the latest news they had heard from Kirsten while we caught up on the phone. My whole family awaits Kirsten’s Christmas call.
37. Likewise, but not always as from afar is John Hugh’s Christmas morning call. Every year of our lives John Hugh has called to wish the Crews family a Merry Christmas and to talk to Jeff. It doesn’t matter that Jeff no longer lives at Momma’s. John Hugh still calls Momma’s house every Christmas Morning. We wait on it much like we awaited Santa Clause!
38. Christmas afternoon naps after the food has been eaten and the presents have been opened.
39. Jeff and I used to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas every Thanksgiving, and I always wrap presents to the latest version of Miracle on 34th Street
40. 24 Hours of A Christmas Story!!

None of these things have anything directly to do with the birth of Jesus – no more so than blowing out candles on February 2nd has to do with my birth. However, each of them reminds me of immense amounts of joy and love – the love of family and friends, and the love that caused God to send His Son, Jesus, to earth. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season! Enjoy this Christmas week knowing that it’s not necessarily the day but the moments that make Christmas special.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Never Fail Sausage and Cheese Muffins

I got this recipe from our mother-in-law, Sharon. She deserves the credit. When she told me how easy they were, I didn't believe her. After making them I realized she was right. What she didn't prepare me for were the rave reviews I would get anywhere I took them! My coworkers love them and my Sunday School girls love them! Here's the recipe!
Sausage and Cheese Muffins
2 Cups of Bisquick
1 pound sausage
1 can Cheddar Cheese Soup
Shredded Cheddar

Cook and drain the sausage (in manner of ground beef). Mix together two cups of Bisquick, the can of Cheddar Cheese Soup, a half a can of water (fill the cheese soup can half way). Once that is mixed, add cooked and drained sausage. Add as much shredded cheese as you want! You can also top the muffins with cheddar.
Bake in greased muffin tins (or use muffin cups) in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes (or until golden)
Be prepared that these muffins do not really rise. You are going to want to fill the muffin tin as full as you want the muffin to be.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This is Halloween!

All day long I've been singing "This is Halloween" from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I went to work at the Athletic Learning Lab today, and one of my co-workers dressed up as white trash. What made it even funnier is that he's half black and looks more black than white. As Halloween has progressed I have found myself craving Butterfingers. That's pretty typical seeing as how I bought the SweetTart variety pack instead of Butterfingers this year. My best friend, Carrie, has two kids: Reese (10) and Liam (4) who I love like a neice and nephew. Here are a few pictures Carrie sent me of the kids this Halloween. Reese was Hannah Montana, and Liam was Axl Rose. I'll add pictures of Charlie and Anderson when Lauren sends them.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Can You Believe It?!

"The Red Sox become the first team in the Twenty-first century to win two world championships. Can you believe it?!" This was the call made by Red Sox radio announcer, Joe Castiglione. This year there was no 86 year curse, no last minute collapses, no Buckner moments or Bucky Dents or Aaron Boones. There also were not any of the last minute heroics that Red Sox fans have come to expect since 2004. Instead, this year the Red Sox used every member of its team to remain on top throughout the season and cap it off with a sweep to win the World Series. So, 'The Boston Red Sox are the World Champions. For the first time in [er well, 3] years The Red Sox have won Baseball's World Championship...Can you believe it?!" In fact I can! This is a team that started full steam ahead right out of spring training. It may be a team that has the second highest payroll in baseball, but it is a team that has cultivated players from the minors. As the world series ends, names like: Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkillis, Jacoby Ellsbury, John Lester, and Mississippi State's own Jonathan Papelbon all come to mind as key players from the series. They are all becoming household names, and they all were players that came through the Red Sox farm system. On top of these young players, there was Tek, Timlin, Lowell, Papi, Manny, Coco, and even JD Drew (words I never thought I'd write) who showed their leadership through they plays on the field and off. Red Sox fans are brutal on managers, but Tito has been amazing this year and especially throughout the World Series. In many ways, the Rockies were out managed. As a die hard Sox fan, I thank the team, manager, and coaches; I thank Theo (In thee I trust!), and of course John, Tom and Larry. Thanks for a year of rollercoasters, a year of smiles, nailbiters, cheers, tv moments, and three pennants! My nephew Charlie was born in 2004; my nephew Anderson was born in 2007. I think I'm going to make my brother keep procreating if the Sox are going to win the World Series in years they have kids! Now, it's 1:40 in the morning, and I'm too tired to keep celebrating. I haven't waited as long for this win as I did for the last; I haven't cried as many tears this time; yet, victory is still as sweet as ever. I'm sure this win will only add more members to the bandwagon, more people wearing Red Sox caps who can't name the starting nine let alone the Red Sox greats of the past, more people talking Yankee trash, but those of even those of us who hate bandwagon jumpers, the greater volume of fans yelling: "Yankees Suck!" never bothers us. Time will weed out the bandwagon jumpers. They'll find another team to support in a few years, but for real Red Sox fans...we'll look with pride at the banners hanging inside and outside of Fenway that say 2004 and 2007(Hopefully before this decade is over we can add a few more.), we'll sing "Sweet Caroline" after the top of the 8th as well as "Dirty Water" and "Tessie"after wins, we'll still remember the pain of years past, and we'll always believe. Why? Because we are Red Sox Nation! Way to go Red Sox!!!!!!!!!
"Down by the River....Down by the banks of the River Charles..."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

MC Homecoming

This year, my brother, Jeff, was honored as MC's Young Alum. The whole famiy went down, and many of Jeff's friends came to the festivities. The day began with a brunch where Jeff was honored and gave a speech. Following the bruch was MC's homecoming parade down college street. After that, our friend, Lance Clay hosted a cookout tent in the Quad in honor of Jeff. It was a great day of good friends and family. Here is a video of some of the pictures. Enjoy.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Different Kind of Blow Out

There are a couple of things I've been working on this semester. The number one thing is that I've been trying really hard to maintain and follow a budget. I have severely limited my eating out funds, so I do a lot of cooking. I went to the grocery store on Saturday and bought a few things. Today as I was writing, I began to think that if I made tacos for supper tonight, I could take that to school tomorrow for lunch. I could heat up the mean and refrigerate the cheese. It would be a hearty meal (which I don't often get at school), and it would be paid for. So, I decided to take a break from writing and begin cooking. I got out a beautifully red pound of ground beef and put it in the freshly clean skillet. I turned on the front eye, and a huge spark lept out and flew across the room. I promptly turned that eye off! Then I tried the back eye on the same side. Apparently it had blown as well. I soon realized that all four eyes were blown as well as the oven. So, now here I am with nothing in the house that can be eaten raw, and no means to cook anything! Looks like my next stop is pizzahut.com.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Loss of a Good Friend

We at the Crews house are saddened this week by the loss of one of our family members. Molly's dog-son, James, was killed by a speeding car on Tuesday. For those who know me well, you know I'm not an animal person. But I always said that James crept up into that hard place in my heart and settled in. I can honestly say that James is the first animal I ever fell in love with. Miss Molly, as James called her, is beyond sad. A funeral was held yesterday in Miss Molly's back yard where James liked to dig. He was buried with his favorite toy, Red Man, and a tennis ball. He will be (and is already) greatly missed.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Raise the Flag

I became a Red Sox fan on October 16, 1999. Long before this team’s bandwagon got so big it’s embarrassing, I fell in love with Pedro, Nomah, and the Boston Red Sox. At the time, for me, it was an emotional return to the sport of my childhood – a sport I had once loved with every ounce of my being, and a sport I abandoned when the man who taught me the love of the game, my father, died. On my first trip to New England, the magic of the game swept me off my feet and brought me back to a love that my father instilled in me when I was too young to remember. As a child my brother sat me down on my bed and taught me the caps and logos of every major league team. (Montreal was one I had the most trouble with, the weird “M” baseball glove never said “Expos” to me. Thank God they don’t exist anymore.) I was hard core for as long as I can remember. At the point of my New England trip in 99, it had been five years since I had anything to do with the game of baseball. My life was changed in a major way during that trip to Massachusetts. My sister and I spent the day in Boston where everything was abuzz. Clemens and the hated Yankees were coming back to town, and Pedro and the loveable and “always the underdog” Red Sox were hoping to win the Pennant. Since it was the play-offs, we obviously did not have tickets to the game. We got nowhere near Fenway Park; that wasn’t necessary. We arrived back to her home in New Bedford, Mass in time to catch the game on NESN. My sister and I spent that evening watching Pedro stick it to Clemens to a tune of 13-1. I was beyond cloud nine, and I was hooked. I watched the rest of the series, and I cried when the Sox lost sending the Yanks on to beat the Braves in the World Series. I won’t go through the many times I have bawled my eyes out because of the roller coaster ride of being a Red Sox fan. ESPN has chronicled it enough, and Fever Pitch took all of it out of the sports world and brought it into American pop culture. October 27, 2004 (ironically enough the night before my father’s death date) is by far the greatest moment for every Red Sox fan, and it’s no different for me. However, tonight was not far behind. For the first time in my tenure as a Red Sox fan, my team has beaten the Yankees to win the American League East Division Title! When the Red Sox game finished with a win, the Yankees were leading the Orioles by three with two innings to go. When Mariano came in to pitch the ninth, the Os were still down by three. I figured that my Sox would have to wait another day to clinch the division. Then out of nowhere, Rivera blows the save and the Os tie it in the ninth. The Os have a runner on first with one out. The reliever loads the bases with intentional walks, and a sacrifice bunt brings in the winning run for the Os securing the Red Sox as the winner of the division. And all over the world, Red Sox nation went freaking nuts! Fenway Park, watching the Yanks/Os game on the jumbotron, errupts in a mixture of disbelief and pure elation! I think I may be evicted from my apartment for being too noisy. My neighbors were just privy to screaming, yelling, clapping, and wahooing. The season isn’t over, and the playoffs haven’t even started. I’m a far way from fully celebrating. However, I relish this night – this moment. It feels good to break another curse – the curse of losing the division every year since 1995. Tomorrow is another game; there are still eleven playoff games to win before the season is over. For tonight, I’ll rest in peace. A Division flag will be raised next year at Fenway. Well done, Red Sox, well done!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cards

As you may well know (or have figured out from a previous post), Christmas is my favorite time of the year. As a teacher, I get a full month off to spend time with my family and those friends that I don't see as often as I wish. Fireplaces are all alit with roaring fires (or candles at my mama's house -- we're all too allergic to have a real fire!). I realize it's not even October, but Christmas requires a good bit of preparation. One thing I love to do is send out Christmas cards. As a graduate student, I can't always afford to send them out, but when I can -- I love it. I am a huge fan of snail mail in all forms. There's something about Christmas cards. As I write the names of those friends that I love dearly but haven't seen in a few years, I remember mini-stories about out friendship. As I place the card in the envelope and seal it, I send a little prayer up for them and heartfelt good wishes. I was reminded of Christmas cards this afternoon when I received an email about ordering them. I used to work at A Printed Affair in Jackson, and for some time that's where I bought my Christmas cards. However, over the last few years my venue has changed. As a die-hard Red Sox fan, I've become quite familiar with the Jimmy Fund and the work of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. After a Red Sox trip to Boston, I decided to order my Christmas cards from Dana-Farber. All proceeds go to the Jimmy Fund, and many of the cards are drawn or designed by the cancer patients. A part of my heart lives in this children's hospital in which I've never stepped foot. I have, however, stepped foot into St. Jude's in Memphis. St. Jude also sells Christmas cards designed by their patients. Many local children's hospitals do things such as this as well. I'm not asking you to break your budget buying things you will never use, but I do want to ask you to consider these venues when you are considering your Christmas card purchases. Instead of benefitting the retail sector of you town, consider benefiting a greater cause. Not only do your friends receive a beautiful card filled with your love, but you can provide hope to millions of children.



Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Cakes by Crews

As many of you know, I bake cakes on the side. I've started a blog of some of the cakes I've done in the past year. Check them out, and feel free to leave feedback. The address is: www.cakesbycrews.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Food for Thought

As I was driving to work today, I was listening to XM's Baseball This Morning show. The guest on the show was a Double A pitcher from San Diego's farm system named Dirk Hayhurst. Dirk writes a column for Baseball America about life in the minors. He was on the show to talk about all of his columns but especially his most recent one. Here's the link:
http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/minors/features/264668.html
In the interview with Buck and Mark, Dirk talked about his lack of understanding for why people consider him to be great just because he plays a game. To begin with, he plays AA ball...he's not even a star baseball player. He compared himself to doctors and teachers and explained that he and his job are not the types that should be idolized. As you can read in the column, in many ways his mind has changed about that. The interview, and the article after I read it, made me think a lot. I'm a 28 year old grad student who teaches freshman composition. It's a job that has taken a lot of hard work to get to, but it's no glorious job. I don't feel I'm changing the world by helping my students avoid comma splices and work on organization. But the column made me realize that world changing things aren't the point; life changing moments are way more important. I found myself asking whether or not I drown out the voices of those wanting my attention? Do I look at the faces that are not wanting more from me than a smile or a hello when something that simple would change their day? How about you? Do you intentionally avoid people? Maybe this article will help you stop (as it did me) and ask yourself why you do it. I have a feeling that once you stop and think about it, you will find your reasons are hollow. It doesn't have to be a terminally ill kid, although it may be; it could be the woman checking you out at the grocery store, the person in the cubicle next to you, or that student with serious comma splicing problems.

Also, at the bottom of the column, you will find Dirk's email address. I encourage you to write him if you feel so led.

Monday, August 20, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

No, I'm not talking about the first week of school (those that's great too). I came home today from spending the afternoon at the office finishing my syllabi, looking up appropriate readings for my students, and making tons of copies. I was in the copy room so long that people kept coming by saying, "You're still here?!" On top of my syllabi, I probably made 500 copies of other things. By the time I finally finished, it was rush hour. When I finally got home I was pretty much exhausted. I stopped to check my mail before coming to into my apartment to crash. I opened my mailbox and my mood changed immediately. I heard a voice in my head begin singing "Oh Holy Night." There sitting, in all it's glory, was a box containing my 2007 Southern Living Christmas book! I immediately tore the box open and spent an hour looking through every page. This book is a culmination of two things I love most: Christmas and Southern Living! So, I know there are exactly four months and five days until Christmas, but the spirit just descended on my apartment! And for those of you who have come to expect tasty treats around the holidays...get ready. There are lots of great recipes I'm dying to try out!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Celebrity Look Alike

So, it's 12:15 at night and I'm bored. So, I started playing around on myspace. I finally decided to do the celebrity look alike thing. Basically, you scan your picture and it tells you which celebrities you look most like. I guess there isn't anything like an online myspace thing to humble you. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't thinking I would show up as Katherine Heigel or anything, but I was definitely not prepared for the result I got. Apparently, the celebrity I look most like (coming in at a whopping 78%) was...Bill Murray! What exactly is a person supposed to do with that information? So, now I'm going to bed resigned to the fact that I look like the face of Caddyshack and What About Bob?. Great.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

High School Reunion Planning

Unlike most of my college friends, I did not hate high school. In fact, I loved it. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't go back to it if I had to...but I enjoyed it while it lasted. I graduated with about 150 people -- most of whom I had attended school with since we were five. A select few of those began school with me when I was three. I can't say I've done as well as I hoped I would in keeping up with high school friends, but they are still very dear to me. All of this is to say that I wanted our reunion to be amazing! A select few of us got together and gave the power of reunion to a guy who still lives in my hometown, New Albany. This same select few also added our bats to the lineup by offerring to assist in any way possible. So basically what that boils down to is one main chief who doesn't necessarily want to be chief and several mini-chiefs who want it to be done right.

Today I began to work on my part of the reunion planning. I had a few hours and decided I would get started on the write up for the newspapers. This task which I thought would take about 30 minutes took up the vast majority of my day. It required calling one person who told me one fifth of the answer then calling another who gave me another part. I talked to more friends from high school today than I have in the past three months combined. I love the fact that I am getting to talk to these friends with whom I've lost touch. I love the fact that our reunion is going to be awesome. And I especially love the fact that there are so many of us passionate about it being an awesome reunion. I just think it would be easier if next time we choose a head chief with a type A wife. As it stands now we have a single chief, two single girls (one who lives out of state...me of course), a married guy (who lives in Virginia) and various other fringe helpers who live all over the place. It's a bit chaotic. However, nothing had been done to plan the reunion in May, and we all thought it would be in the summer. So the fact that we are having a reunion at all is a good thing. :) We never were the most responsible of classes. I'm talking about a class that passed this as the class motto: Beer is great, sex is heaven, we're the class of 97. In fact, that very well may be on a banner somewhere during the reunion.

My official task is as one of three in charge of the Saturday afternoon picnic. We are serving lunch and hanging out. People are bringing the kids. If you have any ideas about a fun mixer type game or something, feel free to let me know. We've thought about s guess the occupation type of game, but we really want something more fun and involving. Seriously, any advice or input would be greatly appreciated! We're expecting around 60 at the picnic, and we want it to be lots of fun!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Charlie

I came home to NA today, and when I got here everybody was down for their afternoon naps…including Mama. I had an eye doctor’s appointment, so I came in and dropped stuff off before heading back out. When I came back from the doctor, Mama was up, but the kids were still in bed. I went up to my bedroom to catch up with a conference call for work. When I walked in, Anderson was sitting in his swing kicking and cooing. When he saw me he started laughing! It was so adorable. I picked him up and carried him downstairs where everybody else was awake. I handed him off to mom and came back upstairs. I checked in on Charlie who was not awake but was moving around a bit. I knew that he would be up very soon. I closed the door, went in my room (leaving the door open to see him when he got up) and logged on to the conference call. A few minutes later, I heard something in the other room, but I hadn’t heard Charlie’s door open. I went to look, and his door was open. So, I stepped farther out into the hall and saw him walk out of Mama’s room. He looked at me, grunted a uhhhh (of unhappiness), and then stepped back in Mama’s room and closed the door without saying a word. A few minutes later I saw him peeking out of the door. I made some silly faces at him and waved with silly waves. He just stared at me. So, I got up and walked into the hall. As soon as I got there, he grunted the “uhhhhhh!” and closed the door again. It was the funniest thing ever. I haven’t seen him in about a month, and he shuts the door on me. He’s so sour/sweet! He just woke up from his naps. These tend to be sour moments for anybody who isn’t Trishie (who is always who he wants immediately upon waking). What’s great about Charlie is that sometimes when he’s sour it’s often hilarious or adorable! Lauren finally came and took him downstairs to get him to fully wake up. I kept thinking he would come back up and be playful…but that was thirty minutes ago. This is where coming home with gifts gives me the upper hand.

While I was home I bought a webcam for my mother. She often keeps Charlie and Anderson. Sometimes she'll call me and try to tell me about what they are wearing, what they are doing, or the new cute phrase for the day. I decided that she needed to be able to show me some of these things. Here is Charlie singing Mrs. Suzy. However, we changed it to Miss Lucy because his dog Lucy is having puppies. Enjoy!


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Red Sox Fans....ahhh, a Quirky Breed

I just got an email from Chowdaheadz* with the subject line: "Time to Support the Sox, Through Thick and Thin!" Yes, there is a seven game deficit in the AL East between first and second place. And yes, the first and second teams are (sarcastic drum roll) the Yankees and Red Sox. However, let me remind you that the Red Sox are the ones with the seven game lead!!!! Are we really in a "thin" time here? Don't get me wrong, I'm freaked out by the fact that there was a two digit deficit at the All-Star break and now it's down to 7. But I think maybe we've jumped the gun on throwing up our hands and calling this a rough patch. Kevin Kennedy said it best yesterday on The Show. The Yankees would have to play 700 ball for the rest of the season and the Red Sox play 500 ball for the rest of the season to be able to overthrow and maintain the division lead. We're playing 600 ball right now. So, yes it's getting close...but let's not jump into the Charles quite yet, my dear friends.

On a side note: with this email from chowdaheadz came a 15 percent off coupon. Great...I ordered stuff from there yesterday! Ahhhh, the bad luck...

*disclaimer: I love Chowdaheadz.com and think it's one of the best places to get great Red Sox stuff. I spend entirely too much money at chowdaheadz and born into it (the parent company) yearly.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

There She Blows

This evening my friend Michaele was in town. She needed an outfit for an event she has coming up, so we met up at the mall for dinner and shopping. She was planning on staying at a hotel, but I insisted she save her money and stay with me. After we ate dinner and found the perfect outfit, we headed out for my apartment. (Let me also add that I did not buy a single thing other than dinner...impressive, I know!) We were driving down 285 around 7:30. For those who don't know, 285 is the highway that goes around Atlanta. It's by far the busiest road in Atlanta, and nobody drives slowly. Traffic was still pretty bad from the rush hour, but I was contently listening to the Red Sox game. Iwas driving extra carefully because Michaele didn't know where I live. We got about three exits away from my apartment and all of a sudden I hear this horrible noise that sounds like a plane is landing on my car. I think the car in front of me has had a blow out. Then I realize it's my car making the noise. As I start to make my way through the six lanes of traffic between me and the side of the interstate, I do a double take to make sure my car hadn't slipped into neutral. It was a sound similar to the sound my car would make in college when Jonathan would throw it in neutral while I was driving just to freak me out. However, my car was perfectly in drive. Michaele kept setting up picks to let me over one lane at a time. I finally arrived on the side of the interstate. I got out of my car and went to look at my front tire. It looked like Freddy Crougar had attacked it from the inside out! There was a huge slash about every inch and a half! I was so happy that Michaele was with me; she knew exactly what to do. We walked down the road a bit because we saw a rescue truck ahead. But once we got about half way there, he drove off. We went back and called GDOT. They were trying to figure out where we were when the truck from before came around. They are called Hero trucks. The guy's name was Denny and he changed my tire and put air in my spare. I was fishing through my purse to put together a tip for him. He saw me and asked me what I was doing. I said, "Getting money out." He said, "For who?!" I said, "For YOU!" He said he couldn't take any money because he worked for the government. I asked if he couldn't take even a tip. He said no. Finally I asked if he could take hugs. He said those he could take. After he finished, I hugged him and then he stopped traffic to let us out. We made it home safely, and tomorrow I'll be buying a new tire and having the others checked.

Red Sox in Atlanta

Molly and I have made a habit of going to see the Red Sox once a year. The original plan was to rotate between Boston and Atlanta every other year. However, this year (because of my lack of funds) we did another year in Atlanta. Every year Molly and I wonder if the trip can be as good as the last. Over the past few years, every trip has been pepperred with these moments of pure euphoria. We keep thinking, at some point this good luck has got to run out. Luckily, it did not run out this year. We had tickets to all three of the games in Atlanta (of course). Here's a little bit about each game.
Game 1: We arrived late because traffic was horrendous...even by Atlanta's standards. We get there in the top of the second. Our seats were amazing! For the first game, Curt Schilling was pitching. We cheered our hearts out (even in the rain), but our boys apparently left the bats in Boston. We lost the game. From the get-go we had a bad feeling about the night, and as all Red Sox fans know...bad feelings can't be good. (we sox fans are a superstitious bunch).
Game 2: Pure Euphoria
We arrived very early for this game. Our seats were in the outfield right by the score board. They would be Atlanta's equivalent of the Green Monster. This time we carried signs. The front said: Souther Girls (heart) The Sox! The back said: Libby, Molly and Wally (heart) Don and Remy! Needless to say our sign was a huge hit. We were sitting right by the cameras. Because we had pro-Sox signs, they put us on NESN (New England Sports Network...for you non-sox fans. It was the Boston station). We won the game complete with an unbelievable jumping catch by Pedroia and a impossible diving catch by Coco! We were surrounded by a good mix of Sox and Brave fans. It kept the atmosphere entertaining and exciting. There was a downpour of rain which caused about an hour rain delay. We stuck it out, though. Pretty much our whole section stayed until the end of the game! It was great! We came home and immediately pulled up mlb.tv. However, they only had the Braves broadcast station. Luckily, a sweet Sox fan from New England recorded the replay of the game and sent it to me. Molly and I open and close the game dancing and cheering with our signs. They show both sides, and it was AWESOME!
Game 3: We had great seats for this game as well. We were about 20 rows up right between Home plate and the visitor dug out. My friend, Angela, also gave us tickets to the 755 club. It's Atlanta's posh club for VIPs. We went up there before the game and watched batting practice from there. We ate dinner up there with a group of men who had flown in from Boston for the game. It's always interesting to meet new people. I think they were floored by how much we knew about the Sox. They quickly learned we weren't any bandwagon fans. After batting practice we took Wally and headed down to our seats. We cheered, danced, sang, and laughed our way all the way to another victory! Oh, and there was a fight RIGHT in front of us. This drunk Braves fan had started it up with a Red Sox fan. I'm not for sure what lead up to the weak and embarrasing exchange of blows, but it was hilarious. Even better was the dude in front of us who turned around and said, "That's why they stop selling beer in the 7th." It was great!
We had a blast. Here are some pics from the weekend. I'll label some...some are self explanatory.
This is a purse I "made." By "made" I mean sewed the patch onto. Wally is getting ready for the game.
Here we are in the 755 club (which we kept saying like Chris Rock and cracking up!). The first pic is Molly and me; the second one is Wally!
Big Papi!
Molly's Tek!

Welty House


I first encountered her at a family gathering where I joined Mama, Papa Daddy, Stella Rondo, Uncle Rondo and Shirley T before Sister moved to the Post Office on Independence Day. It was in my first encounter that I began to feel a bond unlike any I had ever felt before. Over the years as my love for Eudora Welty and her literature grew that bond became stronger. I began to realize that bond came from seeing myself in her stories and seeing my life in her life outside of her stories. She was a woman who loved her home, and no matter where she traveled or how long away she stayed, home for her was always Mississippi. She wrote about both the ugly side and the beautiful side of Mississippi. She was a woman who surrounded herself with friends and family; she listened to the stories that life presented and told those stories with beauty and language that only she knew how to use. The more I meet of Welty the more I fall in love with her. In life there are always those few loves that define a person, and Eudora Welty and her work are two of mine.
Today I visited Miss Welty's house. I had driven by her house in nostalgia on my way to her lying in state after she died. There were flowers lying on the front steps where her many fans had come to pay their respects. Today was the first time I placed my feet on the worn path of her home. As I entered the house and the door closed behind me chills ran over me. I was overly pleased to see that the museum curators left books lying on the couch and various chairs. Every picture of Eudora Welty that I've seen showed in the background books covering any surface possible. I wanted to sit in the chair from which she gave many an interview, and I wanted to drink tea while looking out over her garden. As a tourist, the guides refused me both of those pleasures, but they provided many more. I stood and looked over at the desk where she wrote daily. I saw the cubby-holed dresser where Welty placed correspondences and that inspired Laurel to pull out her mother's old letters in the
Optimist's Daughter. I heard the stories I've read or heard thousands of times about how witty and clever and charming Welty was. I imagined myself walking in as a friend of Welty's, sitting on the couch next to her favorite chair while she offered me a glass of Makers. I put myself in the shoes of women I inspire to be like --those who came before me in my field -- and had the chance to not only meet but get to know Miss Welty.
Today's journey to the intimate world of Welty only intensified my love for her. I am resigned to the fact that I'll never be able to write like her -- for few can. I'm content spending my life getting to know better the woman who so beautifully and truthfully portrayed this place that I too call home. Her writing never ceases to speak to me, motivate me, move me, or impress me, and her life never ceases to inspire me. There are several reasons why people study certain writers, and there are many reasons why I chose Welty. Yet for me, at the heart of every reason lies that bond that began upon first reading "Why I Live at the P. O." and continues to grow stronger with every encounter I have with Miss Welty.


That is what I wrote when I first went to tour Eudora Welty's house a year ago. This summer, I was able to volunteer at the house. I spent about six weeks helping out at the house. I gave tours to visitors, cataloged her family photos, learned about the garden, and spent hours walking through her home. It was beyond belief for me. Throught the time I was there, I never had a moment where I took for granted where I was. I still got chills or a surge of jittery excitement every time I walked into her house and then again when I walked into the bedroom. I only got scolded once for touching things. The house has been left so that you feel like you are in a friend's home. I went to grab a book off the shelf before realizing I wasn't supposed to touch things. I think the most amazing thing about my time at the Welty house was the people that I met. The house is run by Welty's neice, Mary Alice White (who is president of the Eudora Welty Foundation). The other workers at the house were some of the nicest people I've ever met.
I strongly encourage you to check out the house if you are in Jackson. Tours are given of the garden and the house on Wednesday through Friday. You can check out the website to make reservations or to take a virtual tour of the house.

Welcome

Hey everyone. I've got several blogs in the works that I'll be posting soon. Also, I'm going to bring some of my favorite blogs from myspace on over. That way it looks like I've been on blogspot much longer than 10 minutes.

Crewsism: It's a term I came up with while doing graduate work at Mississippi College. It basically describes a moment or experience that is typical of things that happen to me. They are often hilarious and/or bizarre. They are always things that would only happen to me. I decided to name the blog this because I found it fitting. I may be changing the name as we go, but we'll stick with this for now.

As the page says, this will be a place where I post funny stories that occur in the day to day activities of my fairly sedentary life. I'll include stories about teaching, writing, thinking. There will be times when I will post more philosophical pieces. As always, please feel free to share in the comments section. Other things to know about me are: I'm an avid Red Sox fan and hard core lover of all things Mississippi. My family and friends are the most amazing people in the world. I have an intense faith in God and a desire to grow closer to Him each day. He carries me more than I realize, and I love that. I hope you enjoy your time here. I'm sure I'll enjoy sharing my Crewsisms.