Thursday, September 30, 2004

Lord of the Blog

Wow...I feel so powerful right now it's overwhelming (as opposed to just whelming). Amanda has left me the key to her universe (AKA the ability to post on her blog) while she's out saving the world one South African at a time. She also gave this ability to Emily...but Emily's out of town too so today, the Diva Domain is all mine baby.

There's just one problem: what to blog about. Now there are many things I could talk about, but what is truly blogworthy? There are many shallow thoughts from my deep mind. Amanda's thoughts are shallow as well, but Her Blogness has the tender sarcasm that I'm not sure I can live up to. Just kidding, sometimes she's not shallow.

Speaking of being shallow, here's a question for everyone: Have you ever thought of giving up television? In previous years I've found myself planning my days around that box of light, and often planning my weekend around when I'm going to watch the tapes I recorded of Friends, Gilmore Girls, Big Brother, and whatever band/celebrity I wanted to see on Leno, Letterman, Conan, or those I-have-to-get-up-at-the-butt-crack-of-dawn-to-watch-this morning shows. And then what do I get out of it? Nothing positive. I get someone telling me that I have to dress like this, I have to have perfect hair like this, I'm too short, I'm too "soft", I'm too pale, I'm not talented. It's made me constantly feel the need to compare myself to, not just the people on TV, but the people I know in real life, even at church. Sometimes I'll think I'm not as good as this person, and sometimes I'll think I'm better than that person. The latter just leads to pride, which I hate in myself.

It's not just physical attributes of being a female either. This will sound cliche but it really does desensitize us to many things. I'm a self-described "goodie goodie" (although since I moved to Nashville it might need to be cut down to just 1 "goodie") - and I've watched TV/movies since I was little and I haven't fallen into the sex drugs and rock & roll "pit of sin." So it's easy for me to say that TV/movies don't affect one's behavior, that behavior is a conscious decision that is controlled by YOUR mind. Luckily my mind's been stubborn enough not to let my body behave like I've seen people do. But has what I've seen been constructive in helping me live a more Christ-centered life? The answer is big resounding, reverberating, plangent NO. And that's what it's all about people. Even if pop culture is not corrupting you, it's not HELPING you either unfortunately. (And it doesn't count that you watch church on TV.) It was making me stagnant - I wasn't going down but I wasn't going up. Get rid of things that make you stagnant, and definitely get rid of things that take you down. Fill those spaces with something else, even if that something is just silence to destress from life.

I'm turning off the TV for a couple weeks and I'm curious to know what it's going to be like. I never thought I'd do this - I was the one who'd give my right arm to have TiVo, but never got around to it. I'll stop here - this post is a lot deeper than I thought it was going to be. Consider the challenge though. I'm curious ("I was CURIOUS!") to see if it might affect others too. Lastly, thanks to Shelly Edwards for inspiring this in me. You are a walking inspiration to me period Shelly.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

South Africa, baby

"If God is for us, then who can be against us?" Romans 8:31

So many emotions are running through my mind as it's almost time to leave.
Excited, about the amazing opportunity I've been given.
Apprehensive about the poverty and sickness I will see.
Humble that I, Amanda, have been called by God to do his work in such a hands-on way.
Nervous about being on a plane for that long (18.5 hours), over water, and winding up halfway across the globe. One cool thing that Em mentioned to me this morning before she left for Minneapolis (I tell you, you just can't hold these Penthouse Pets down!) was that the water will flow down the drain backwards b/c we'll be in the Southern hemisphere.
Sad because I will miss my family and friends, who are the first priority in my life next to following God (and even sometimes then, I let them take precedence anyways)
Hopeful that lives will be changed by this trip- both members of our team of 26, and also the people of Capetown.

There are so many more thoughts running through my head than that, but all in all, we're nervous about the plane ride, but excited about the rest. Check the SA Blog I created to get updates. I'll miss you all- esp. the ones of you I see on a daily basis. We'll have a big night out in Nashvegas the weekend I get back, o-tay butt-wheat?

soapy quesadillas

Who’s ready for a laugh at my expense? This story is going down in Penthouse history I think.

After Kairos last night we went out to Mac Grill to celebrate Katie’s birthday. Em and Rhonda went in together and bought her a square plate and an olive oil dispenser that has a beautiful painted music pattern on it. They match the bowl and vase that Katie had bought for herself just days earlier, so she was obviously ecstatic when she opened them. As we were all admiring the bottle, and discussing how pretty it was, where it came from, etc. I overhear Em telling Katie,
"…and you don’t even have to use it for olive oil. We have one with dish detergent in our kitchen."
Immediately an imaginary lightbulb bursts into flames over my head.
"What are you talking about Emily?" I said incredulously. "That’s not olive oil in our kitchen?" She stops and looks at me.
"Why? Have you been cooking with it?"
Now at this point all other conversations at the table stop and everyone turns and looks to me. So I begin to tell my story.
A few weeks ago, right after we moved in, I got ready to cook myself something for dinner one night. No one else was home, and it was before we had any pots and pans, so I had limited options on what I could make.
"No problem," I thought to myself, "I’ll just use my handy-dandy-can’t-live-without-it quesadilla maker and make myself a quesadilla for dinner."
So I pulled out a skillet, chopped up some onions, grabbed the olive oil (hmm, why is this over by the sink? That's a dumb place for it to be!) drizzled some into the pan to sauté the onions, and put the bottle in its proper place by the stove. You can probably tell where this is going.
The first bite I take of my quesadilla, I notice a distinctly soapy taste. So I rack my brain, trying to come up with every possibility of how this came to be.
"Well I just bought the onions and cheese, so they can’t be bad already. Someone must have washed the quesadilla maker last and not rinsed it off very well," was the conclusion I came up with. Never would I think,
"oh, maybe somebody put yellow dishwasher detergent in the glass olive oil dispenser." Who does that??

"Didn't you notice I moved the bottle over by the stove?" I said accusingly to Emily.
"Well didn't you notice I was using it to wash dishes?" She retorted.
Communication is key, people. I probably would not have even thought about this again until a) I used the "olive oil" again to cook, or b) used the quesadilla maker to see if the food still tasted like soap, if it weren’t for Katie’s new birthday present.
In the midst of us all cracking up over my soapy quesadilla, Ari says

"you were supposed to make a quesadilla Bradley, not a sopapilla."
Ba-dum-ching. She’ll be here all night folks. Try the veal.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Hail to the new chiefs

You may have noticed there are 2 more names on the "Contributors" list than there normally are. This is because I have entrusted the divadomain and all the pink-ness that goes with it, in the very capable hands of roommies Emmy Sue and Rhonda Lu. While yours truly is away looking for Elephants (and helping the people of Cape Town, South Africa) these girls are in charge of whatever witty insight they can come up with between the 2 of them. I know it won't be nearly as punny as what I might come up with, but go easy on 'em. (That's if they ever post anything. They may not. So no pressure girls.)
You can go to our South Africa Blog in your spare time to keep up with our team until I return bright eyed and bushy-tailed on Wednesday October 13th.

He's Just Not That Into You...

The Penthouse Pets knew this one was coming!!! We watched this Oprah segment last night that Emily's mom tivo'd/taped for us. It's a book that implores women to quit making excuses for guys who aren't giving them what they want, and to come to terms with the fact that He's Just Not That Into You. Apparently, as young, single women, Mrs. Borders thought this was something we needed to see. The funny part was that Holt emailed me the day after this show was on last week and was absolutely raving about this book. I skimmed the email, said "Great for you, but no thanks, I don't need to read a secular book on dating." Nevertheless, as this was the 2nd person in days who had mentioned this book to me, I went in with an open mind as we piled on Emmy Sue's bed for a Bed Party (do you ever feel like this blog is a Seinfeld episode, and if you keep reading long enough everything will tie back together and make sense? Perhaps if you are a new reader I would suggest digging back into the archives and get up-to-date on the divadomain. We wouldn't want anyone to feel left out.) Ok- end of plangent. Everything this author said was true, but it wasn't life changing or anything. He's just re-affirming what women already know but don't want to admit to themselves. You see, as we discussed among ourselves last night, Girls wait for the right guy, and Guys wait for the right time.
I think this author is no different- he talked about how he used to play women all the time until he met his wife- and then magically he was willing to leave the games behind and pursue her. I say bull. He was ready to settle down before he met her.
What was life changing, or at least enlightening, was that I discovered that women do the same thing that men do as far as playing games, and not being honest with someone when they aren't interested. I cannot tell you how many phone numbers I have in my cell of guys that I know I won't ever date, but rather keep them at bay by answering their calls when they call, and yes, I have been known to DUI them a time or two. It's like the shirt you bought that you never wear but can't throw away b/c what if someday you decide to wear it? I can't take credit for that brilliant analogy, but it is so true. And cruel. What starts out as not wanting to hurt someone's feelings by telling them no, you don't want to go out with them, ends up as stringing them along, or vice versa, allowing yourself to be strung along.
Well the buck stops here people! If you're not interested, then just say so, because you're worth more than a "Tier 4 booty call."

Monday, September 27, 2004

What Weekend???

Ohmygosh you guys... I cannot even begin to describe the craziness that was also known as my weekend. And not craziness as in, all the going out and happenings, but craziness in like, I was at the Penthouse for maybe a total of 5 hours all weekend not counting sleeping, which was also severly limited as well. I distinctly remember thinking on Saturday morning as I rushed from one place to the other, I thought weekends were supposed to be relaxing, and that I wasn't supposed to have every second scheduled like I did the rest of the week. But my brain is fried and so I'm going to have to result to using bullets to outline the weekend of crazy Football and South Africa preparation because I'm having difficulty writing complete sentences this morning.

*Saw Wimbledon with the girls, Rhonda Lu & I went to Jonathan's afterwards where we ran into some co-workers and a stalker friend of ours. Watched football on a blue field. Tried to tell Stewart (Stewie) about the Family Guy since he's never seen it.

*Got very little sleep, up at 8:40 the next a.m.

*Watched Kentucky get tossed around like rag dolls against Florida, who was still whining & complaining about their unfair calls in Knoxville.

*bought new tennis shoes (pink of course)

*bought a digital camera

*did minor damage at Anne Taylor Loft, although most of it was covered under my giftcard. The rest were supposed Birthday presents that I got early anyways. Aren't moms great? Especially when they're spoiling you because you'll be gone for 2 weeks

*bought Em & Rhonda each a Christmas present, Katie a Birthday present, and myself a copy of Angels in America to read on the 18.5 hour flight

*yes, 18.5 hours on a plane, nonstop- the longest commercial flight in the world

*watched X-Men 2 with the George + family contingency

*met the girls at Tootsie's- Jared Ashley was there, as was Ranger Bob, so it doesn't get much better than that

*got in much too late. Got very little sleep.

*Ran out the apt like a crazy woman Sunday a.m. in time to sing in the choir at the first service

*Almost passed out in the choir loft at the aforementioned first service (no sleep+low blood sugar+ heeled shoes+bright, hot lights= a recipe for disaster)

*Left the house at 11:11 (make a wish) with Dad, picked up the tickets, got to the stadium, bought some lunch, and were in our seats in time for kickoff. Amazing.

*The Titans game: beautiful weather. Lackluster football- the most boring game I have ever sat through

*SA meeting at church. back to the apt to grab a few items. back to the house for some dinner and quality family time with the George+family contingency (ps- can I just say how much I love this kid? He makes Laura so happy. We're just hoping he doesn't follow through with his and Laura's threats to elope)

*Back to the Penthouse for good where I talked to my roommates for a whole 15 minutes!

*Jon Cate came to visit. Harassed me about Kentucky football. Harassed me about John Kerry. Harassed me about the Naked guy on my wall ("it's Michaelaneglo," I exclaimed! "It's Adam, not a naked man! It's showing how God created him in His own image and how their hands are almost touching but not quite, which represents the separation of man and God..." Jon Cate's classic response: "You're just too artsy for me.")

*Made a huge to-do list. Packed. Stayed up way too late.

*Got up at 5:30 this morning, ran out the apt like a crazy person...

*and the rest, they say, is history...

alright, now that I've vented, maybe I can get some work done. You know, at my job. The one I get paid to not do.

Friday, September 24, 2004

real world philly

It has recently been brought to my attention that the latest Real World cast features native Nashvillian and former Vandy football star (what an oxymoron), MJ Garrett. (There's always a Nashville connection.) I refuse to get sucked into this reality tv, but I feel I must do my civic duty and check up on the guy to make sure Nashville isn't misrepresented. Already he has made a comment about "being from a small town like Nashville" (ok, since when does a few million people count as small?) and how all he's grown up knowing is "white southern." Emily and I were just talking this morning as a matter of fact, about how diverse vandy's student body is. Now maybe DCA, where MJ went to high school, was not diverse, but you'd have to have a real stretch of the imagination to put Nashville and Vanderbilt on any non-diverse list. (if there is such a thing- but you get my point) So here is my official disclaimer: Do not believe anything this guy propagates because a) he likes to play online pictionary and b) the real world is anything but real, and MJ is stereotyped as the cute, redneck sheltered white boy.

A hickinick from kinnikinnik

The first ever Penthouse gathering was a huge success if I do say so myself (and I do). We had way more food than could ever be consumed by 11 girls, and plenty of laughter and stories to go around. The mint oreos were a hit Jill- good call. After an hour or more of conversing and consuming, we decided to play Beyond Balderdash.
This has got to be one of the greatest games ever. I've played the original Balderdash before but this one has other categories like movie titles, dates, initials, and people, as well as definitions of words that you have to make up and then guess the real answer. For example- you might think the word Plangent is a planned tangent (planned spontaneity, anyone?) but actually it's a loud reverberating sound. Good to know, so now you can add that to your vocabulary along with copasetic.
Speaking of favorite words of mine: horror of all horrors, I sliced my finger on a knife in our kitchen drawer looking for a pizza cutter. This is a word, in this usage specifically, that makes me cringe! (See blog entry from May 25) But there is no other way to describe what happened, so my poor finger is all bandaged up. We weren't sure I was going to make it, but I pulled through being the trooper I am. Enough of that plangent.
The other humorous balderdash moment came when someone wrote that kinnikinnik was the aboriginal word for fire. You'd have to have some previous inside-joke knowledge about the whole "You're fired" competition between Donald Trump and Kelly Rippa on her morning show to understand why this is funny. DT of course does his little hand flicking motion that Ariana so loves and says the proverbial "You're fired." Kelly then comes back with some elaborate moves and hand gestures, spinning around and shooting a "you're fired" over her shoulder to DT. This goes back and forth several times and is apparently quite humorous (Em, am I explaining this very well since you're the only one who actually saw this segment?) So Em told us this story last Friday night and we've all been "firing" each other ever since. So of course, going back to Balderdash (end of plangent), Em looks at Rhonda and says "You're kinnikinnik'd!" Just in case you were curious (I was CUR-ious!!!) , the actual definition of kinnikinnik is a North American smoking mixture made of brush and tree bark.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

African Animals, #2


Who knew that Penguins lived in such a warm climate? These are actually on the beach at the cape. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures first-hand... anyways, I promised african animals so here they are. I would hate to disapoint...

Procrastinator's Mantra


These are great- I just had to share. Go to the website- there's a ton more where this came from!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

African Animals, #1


Here is one of the many animals we might get to see at the gamepark in South Africa. The little one is Timone from the Lion King. (Sorry yall, I just can't resist cute pictures of animals.) So in the days that follow I will be posting pictures of critters that I may come across in South Africa. This is to try and pass on some of my excitment to you, and to pass the time at work. Now granted, this picture is taken from meerkats living in captivity, but work with me here, People.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Cuddle parties?

I heard about this on the radio this morning as I was driving to work (yes, I'm old... yes, I listen to morning radio... I also was at the Doc yesterday to get my yearly check-up and was told that, good news, my cholesterol is low... to me, that's just another sign of being old- that they even check my cholesterol level). Anyways, so I happen to hear this fizzity on the radio this morning talking about some trip to New York that the radio station sent him on (please forgive the ending the sentence with a preposition). Apparently there is a new wave of parties happening in NYC called Cuddle Parties. It is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of (again, ignore the preposition- I'm in a rant here- no time for grammatical nitpicking). You wear your pajamas, pay $30, and show up to this cuddle party where everyone lays around on everyone else, snuggling, nuzzling, petting... whatever. And get this: there are RULES (see the website) and Cuddle Guards to enforce these rules. Now call me crazy, but it seems to me that this is a fancy facade to meet single people and arrange your own "private cuddle session" if you know what I mean. Honestly, who actually goes to these things?? Not your average citizen I would imagine, especially since they also offer "Girls only cuddle parties" and "Guys only cuddle parties." Only in New York would people pay for this.

In college we had free cuddle parties after study sessions. They were called Bed Parties, aptly named because after the exhaustion of studying for like the thousandth music history test, we would all pile on the person's bed, cuddle, laugh, talk, and detox our brains a little. But this was free, and it was among friends. No need for rules, because you knew everyone. No shady people to keep away from, unless said shady person happened to be a friend, and you just placed yourself away from that person in the cuddle pile. Easy enough.

The theory behind these NY cuddle parties is that we as adults have lost our inner child, and once puberty hit it became taboo to cuddle with our friends. I am hearby declaring to you all: do not pay for this ripoff ruse. Instead, organize a cuddle party among friends and reclaim your inner child. Put on your comfy clothes, pop in a movie, and enjoy the company of those you love, because cuddling with strangers is just weird.

Monday, September 20, 2004

5 Girls, a Blog, & a pizza place

The Girls Night Out on Friday was a huge success. We must do this more often! Me, Em, Rhonda Lu, Katie, and Lana met up at the Nashville Treasure Christopher Pizza for a delicious dinner filled with laughter. Apparently someone sent out a memo to wear black shirts that night because we all had them on (I didn't have on a speck of pink- can you believe it?). The dinner conversation of sharing our most embarassing moments (which not surprisingly seemed to all happen when we were in the 8th grade), and Lana sharing her choking experience at the movie Elf, had us rolling. The guys sitting next to us were obviously listening, but trying to pretend that they weren't- how could you not have heard us though? The entire resteraunt probably knows each of our embarassing stories- but I think these guys were particuarly taken with Lana's story-telling abilities. Bless her heart, but she couldn't be quiet if she tried. In college I never really noticed this, but I guess it's because we were all voice majors and we were all always loud.
But I digress. Dinner was delectable- try the desert pizza if you go- after which we left and went down a few places to Gravity/On the Rocks to grab a table before it got too crowded. Here Laurie and her friend Gina met up with us, where we decided we were quite the intimidating group of gals. After finally getting rid of the drunk/high/annoying/old guy that had attempted to befriend us, we decided to head down to the Tin Roof (rusted) to see what was going on there.
The place was packed, as usual, and it made me remember why we don't go there on Saturdays anymore. The old Yogi Berra quote stands true: It's too crowded- nobody goes there anymore. We actually did manage to find a table which was a huge blessing. This kid sat down next to us and all of us are thinking the same thing- this is the first decent-looking, non-scary guy that has tried to talk to us all night! Of course his over-protective girlfriend and her friend rush to his side adding that it's his birthday, so we all sing to him, and they go on their merry way. The band played all the great sing-along songs, but I was in the stupid bathroom when they played Rocky Top that night. It was the only song I really wanted to hear, but I was not about to get out of line after having waited for several minutes. It's a sad life I live really. We rounded the evening out with a little trek up to Dan Mcguiness where yet another stupid drunk guy tried to meet and re-meet us (So where did everybody to school again?). We girls made our own fun that night by laughing at everything, and playing the too- cool-for-school card (You may think you're too cool for school.. well I've got news for you. You aren't.)
Saturday was spent lunching with Ang & Mom, and soaking in the last rays of summer sun. That evening was the surprise birthday dinner for Jean, followed by some intense viewing of the UT-Florida game. I had forgotten Jean & Tabitha were Floridians, and would thus be cheering for the wrong team, so it made for a fun evening heckling each other back and forth (Wow, that kick was a wide right... I thought it was supposed to go through the uprights) (What was that about it supposed to be going through the uprights, Amanda?) But of course we UT fans had the last laugh as cutie-patootie James Wilhoit kicked a 50-yarder to win the game for the Vols. The Titans lost at home which stinks ( 3 in a row to the Colts, too). But Kentucky did manage to beat Indiana in the battle of the bottoms: bottom of the Big 10 vs the bottom of the SEC. Ahhhhhhh- C-A-T-S, CATS, CATS, CATS!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2004


Yo, this dude is a Balla fo Real,yo

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Hump Day

Wednesday- Hump Day- thank goodness half the week is over. I was in a rotten mood yesterday; agitated at the world, mostly agitated because I had nothing to do at work. You would think this would have given me a great opportunity to get paid to blog. However, being the considerate and respectful citizen that I am, I wouldn't have wanted to impart my crabbiness on to you. Now today the sun is shining, our first fall meeting of Kairos was last night, and I got plenty of sleep, so I am in a much better mood. I suppose we should enjoy the sunshine while it lasts considering that by the weekend we Tennesseans may have a hurricane on our hands. It's probably the closest I will ever get to being in one of these fascinating storms so I'll take what I can get, even if this means no pool time at the Bradley Beach & Resort this weekend.

Today has also been good because Ari and I had a Half-Diva luncheon at Bread & Co. along with Angela and we polished off our lunches with a delectable low-fat brownie something-or-another that was indescribably rich and yummy. Chocolate has that effect of making any day better. Chocolate and anything pink. Pink dishes would be perfection. (Chandler: Gum would be perfection) Oh that's right, I already have those. Well tomorrow the couch and chair are being delivered and soon after we will have a fun little dinner party complete with pink place settings to celebrate the beginning of the Penthouse Era. Who's excited?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Slackers!

Ok people, we're getting a little lackadaisical on our posting comments on the divadomain. Now I understand we are all busy people, and you will probably give me the excuse that you barely have time to read the blog- much less have time to post your own thought-provoking comment. This simply will not do. It's all take, take, take, and no giving back! I'm drained trying to constantly entertain you, but I'm an "I" personality according to the DISC model, which means I'm a people pleaser. I love to be surrounded by others and make them laugh, but I also need the affirmation that I'm doing a good job. That's where you come in. By posting comments you are letting me know that all this hard work is not for naught. Besides, what else am I going to do at work all day besides read your comments? Heaven forbid I ever get a job that would require to me to actually work the full 8 hours. But that would assume I would have actually looked for another job. And we all know what happens when you assume.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Case Closed

The Frank's hot sauce mystery has been solved. It's so obvious- I don't know how I didn't figure it out myself. But cousin Ryan called last night and helped me fill in the gaps. We were sitting at Bear's, saw the bottle of hot sauce, and decided we would bring it back to the Pumper to give to Frank Mafia. Of course as the night went on, and we did not go back to the Pumper, I wound up taking the bottle of hot sauce home with me to TN. Spicy food anyone?

Speaking of food, did anyone see that awful spinoff show NBC is passing off as Joey?? It was terrible. I'll be fair and give it a few more weeks trial, but they've gotta give the kid some better actors to play off of. Joey was funny but everyone else could have greatly benefited from a laugh track. You could have heard a pin drop in the room we were watching it in over at Ari's when a joke ended- and the room was carpeted!

Alrighty kids, I'm off to do my job. They don't just pay me to sit here and play on the internet all day. Have a great weekend- stay clear of the hurricane. Go Noles. Go Raptors. Go Titans.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Welcome to the Penthouse

Well after that Super-sized blog yesterday I didn't have it in me to recount any moving stories for you, so here are a few snippets, if you will, of what great you missed if you weren't there.

*The hired help arrived Saturday morning after almost everything had been hauled downstairs and stuffed into our 2 cars- what? you guys didn't get paid?? Well I guess that explains it then. You sure get what you pay for. (Just kidding friends, you know I couldn't have done it without you.) (Well, I could have, but it would have taken me all weekend long and I would be way more sore than I am now.)

*Boofer trying her hardest to find the lightest loads possible to carry up the one flight of stairs. A computer monitor? Not a chance. 2 Pillows? Now we're talkin.


*Lana refusing to help me carry this huge plastic bin that had all kinds of essential things packed into that simply could not be left at home, leaving my mom and I to struggle up the stairs with it.

*Me falling up the stairs after dropping said bin due to Lana making me laugh.

*Ari shaking her head at Lana & I making each other laugh, and Brett standing there laughing at all of us.

*Dad asking me if that was all the shoes I was bringing, pointing to a large plastic bin crammed full.

*Me admitting that there were more shoes packed elsewhere that wouldn't fit in the container with the rest.

The girls celebrated a successful move that night with a cookout at Chateau Bradley and viewing of The Princess Bride which Lana had never seen (She was CUR-ious!!!)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Frank's hot sauce, anyone?

Q: What do you get when you have my mom’s family + jukebox+ The Pumper?
A: A really good time

I spent the first half of my weekend in the booming metropolis of Cannelton, IN visiting family, and as usual, there was never a dull moment. Friday night I took Laura and George and met the family at the local watering hole, known as the Pumper. First off though, a little background on the city of Cannelton.

Back in its heyday it was a typical small town in Indiana. FDR’s WPA projects allowed industry to boom with several dam projects along the Ohio River. Now it’s seen better days, and has a population less than 2000 people and bars on every corner. One, people have nothing better to do than sit around and drink, and Two, the county across the river in Kentucky is dry, so they all migrate to socialize with the Hoosiers. On any given night, the age-old rivalry between UK and IU fans comes up several times among those from their respective states. And if any local Kentuckians find out you went to UK such as I did, they’re your friends for life. In all actually, UK fans are always in the minority here and the Kentuckians are always glad to have someone else on their side of the never-ending debate over which school’s basketball program is better, which state’s more redneck, and which hates Duke more.

Now the Pumper is unlike any bar I’ve ever known. Take what you’ve read above, and now imagine a sort-of Redneck Cheers, where everyone knows your name. Seriously. I asked my cousin Ryan if anyone ever walked through that door that he didn’t know and his answer was an honest "not very often." The crowd is a bunch of locals, both young and old, and every one’s a character. My favorites are Jimmy, the bartender, who has an honest-to-God mullet, and a laugh that rattles deep inside his chest that you don’t know whether to laugh or gag when he decides something is funny (which is often), and Frank Mafia, the transplanted New Yorker who looks like the guy from Weekend at Bernie’s and makes no effort to hide his taste in younger women. When we got there Friday night the first thing Ryan did was show George the men’s bathroom. It’s so apparently disgusting that it’s legendary. "when it’s time to go to the bathroom, it’s time to go home."

The place was actually packed that night, and good times were had by all. So much so in fact, that Laura and George opted not to go back on Saturday night. That second night was the more entertaining of the two if you were a fly on the wall however. My mom’s sister Lisa, and my uncle Jerry came to the house to pick up my mom and I and we were at the Pumper by 8:30. Not the best idea. Shortly after, my aunt Kristina joined us, followed by my cousins Ryan and Eric. It seemed that I was related to half the bar in a night that culminated in a rousing rendition of Hank Williams Jr.’s Family Tradition. I just had to laugh to myself as I looked across the booth to see my mom and 2 aunts sitting side by side there singing along. Believe it or not, this was Mom’s first ever experience at the Pumper, and it was just way too much fun for her. She left after about an hour, leaving me to fend for myself among my cousins and their friends. Fend from who, you might ask? Remember those characters I was talking about earlier?

First there was Randy Hawkins (you know, he graduated with Kristina’s class… he married Gordon Hafley’s sister) (that’s how every conversation begins with the family for those of us who have moved away from the small town life and need to be filled in on the latest gossip.) Randy danced by himself at the end of the bar and proceeded to make his way closer and closer to our family’s table, pulling my Aunt Kristina up to dance with him at once point. We promptly got my uncle to rescue her, but Randy tried several more times that night to get us to dance with him. The old Avoid Eye Contact trick worked like a charm.

Next there was this guy named Pat Ogle who trapped me at Frank Mafia’s Christmas party this past year talking about Kentucky and UK. He’s one of those Kentuckians looking to talk about UK when he can get a chance in a land surrounded by Hoosiers. Luckily I knew better this time and began a conversation with my cousin Eric, where you again, avoid eye contact and nod seriously as you actually say to the person, "pretend we’re having an important conversation. I don’t want to talk to that person."

Finally, among others, was my mom’s middle school boyfriend (thank goodness that one didn’t last), some scary Larry’s at another bar called Bear’s, and a couple of my cousin’s friends. It’s like Ryan said at one point: It’s a good thing we aren’t from Kentucky because then he and I wouldn’t be off limits from each other. Seriously- they passed that law a few years ago. You can actually marry your first cousin in the state of Kentucky.

To end my diatribes on the life and times of Cannelton, IN I will share the most random mystery of all. The next day when I was already safely back in the shelter of the Brenthood, I found a full size bottle of Frank’s hot sauce in my purse. What the heck??!! I can only assume it came from the Pumper or Bear’s, and that good times were had by all.

Friday, September 03, 2004

South Africa Bound

I want to share with you all the coolest story about how amazing God is. As most of you know, I'm going on a mission trip to South Africa at the end of this month. I've been raising support to pay for the cost of the trip, and it's been coming in slowly but surely. Wednesday night I totaled everything up and figured out I needed $600 more dollars to be done. It may sound like a big number, but I knew it would happen because I am certain I am supposed to go on this trip. Last night after Bible study, my girls presented me with a card and a check for $600 to go towards my trip to South Africa; the exact amount I discovered I needed only the night before. I didn't ask them to do this, and the most awesome part of all was that these girls had no idea how much I still needed. Girls, if you are reading this, I love you and cannot thank you enough. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would happen. It just goes to show how much greater is the mind of the Lord, that He can work everything out perfectly beyond our simple, calculated, & man-made plans.

In other news, this weekend marks the Big Move to the Penthouse apartment, so I'll be commin 'atcha Tuesday with some humorous anecdotes about the whole ordeal no doubt. You stay classy Nashvegas. I'm Amanda Bradley?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Gesundheit

This has to be quick since we're freakin busy this week at work, but I need to vent for a second. When you're in a room with somebody- say you're the only two people in the room, and the other person sneezes, isn't it common courtesy to say 'bless you,' 'gesundheit,' whatever? Now if you're out in the open somewhere and there is more than one other person around, by all means, pass the buck on to someone else- let them do the blessing. But when there is no one else in close proximity, it's just polite! In fact, I would venture to say it's downright rude not to, because after you sneeze there always seems to be that moment of awkwardness if no one acknowledges the fact that you have just sneezed. I have even been known to say 'Bless you' to strangers in stores simply because it feels awkward not to. Am I taking crazy pills here? Does anyone else agree? The reason I ask is that my coworker Dena never says 'Bless you' so I am forced to bless myself which also feels ackward. She's upsetting the social norm and it's a little unsettling. That is all.