Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Wicked"-ly Good!


I promised several people that my review of the musical "Wicked", which I went to see at the Fabulous Fox Theatre last Thursday night, would be up today.  One of those people was Mr. Allan Vella, the manager of that glorious venue which has been the topic of a recent Go Here Thursday post. (Hi, Mr. Vella!  I hope you got my letter yesterday!)

I must offer up my apologies to all who are waiting for the review and details- it was a hectic and packed weekend after that Thursday date, which culminated in my 3rd child coming down with a stomach flu on Sunday afternoon and redecorating the interior of my van on the way home from church with his breakfast.  He was kept home from school on Monday, with me playing referee between him and his younger sister.  I stayed worn out trying to keep her out of his space and spraying every tangible surface of the house with Lysol so that I didn't end up with a puking pre-schooler today.  (Thankfully the Lysol really does what it says and kills the germs, because she's fine!)

Then there was work this morning (a very part time, but much needed gig) for a few hours, followed by a Grandmother in need of help cleaning the kitchen, moving stuff in the garage, and defrosting the freezer. Add to that some matters of a personal nature, related to the parting of ways between long term friends (see yesterday's Music Mondays post for a glimmer of insight at that one), and it makes for one heck of an early week!

So.  I promise that I am working hard on a really good review piece of what I saw experienced on Thursday.  These things always take longer to compose than I think they will.  I have woven a bit of a rant on the absence of common courtesy and etiquette in today's theatre goers into my review piece too, so you won't want to miss that.  In the meantime, thank you for your patience, and I will get all of my postings caught up just as soon as possible!

Monday, September 26, 2011

For Good


The letter was written today.  It took a long time to compose, but each and every word was carefully selected and placed where it belonged on the page, as it was translated from the deepest places of my heart.

I thought this song from Thursday's show of "Wicked" at the Fox Theatre was spot-on appropriate for today's Music Monday.  (A review post of the event is coming soon, but I'm not quite finished with it yet; stay tuned!)

Because this one is so special, I've chosen one with the lyrics.

Who can say if I've been changed for the better, but, because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

Remember well, Mlle M.G.  Remember everything.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Butterfly Fairy Giveaway!

I am just so pleased and flattered that y'all love me enough to show 50+ followers and over 15,000 pageviews on my stats in so short a time!  Wow!

I've mentioned before that I have an alter ego, Lucy Jane Pennybright, who makes artsy craftsy things for sale and show.  Well, today she (I. We. Whomever!) created this peacock inspired Butterfly Fairy to give away to my Modest Peacock readers:


Striped stockings!


She has a peacock feather embroidered on her tunic






One of the Cute Gremlins will be drawing the winning name for me in 2 weeks, on October 9th.  You may enter by commenting below, and you may also get an additional entry for each friend who becomes a new follower! (Have them mention your name in their comment/entry.)  You may also get an additional entry after that by following Lucy Jane's Blog and then telling me so in another comment here!  That's a lot of chances to win this beautiful fairy!

She will be shipped to the winner beautifully and securely wrapped.

Best of luck!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It Will Be Worth It!




Hey!  You!  Yes, you, person who has been faithfully reading my blog posts and wondering if I dropped off the face of the planet recently!

This place-holder post is to let you know to not give up on me!

Why?

Because you love me and stay with me no matter what, because that's what friends do! ;D

But also because between now and December 31st, I will be hosting no less than (and possibly more than!) 8 giveaways!  It's true!  Why that many?  Well, for a number of reasons, as the posts related to them will show.

That, and you know what, bribery works with my kids and we all like to get pretty stuff in the mail, so I figure it will work on you as well! LOL.  So tell all of your friends (the more hits and followers milestones I achieve, I will add on more giveaways to celebrate!) and watch for clues, sneak peeks and full out Giveaway Posts, starting next Monday!  :)

You're very welcome.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Frank's First Football Game


I graduated from Alexander High School in June of 1999.  Since then, I have only lived a maximum of 30 miles away, and even now have moved back to my hometown and within my alma mater's district.

Tonight, the band director (who was one of my classmates back then) hosted any alumni who would come and allowed us to march down to the field with the band (oh, the memories!!!) and even play if we wanted to.  I need dental work, so I chose not to play, but Frank came along for the fun and even made some new friends in the stands (see below).

AHS beat Lithia Springs 34-21.

Without further ado, here are the pics. :)

Band Room, Sweet Band Room


Frank poses with Director and
fellow c/o 99 Alumni Andy Daniel


Jennifer and Frank during the National Anthem

Members of the Performing Arts Program singing our National Anthem
"Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave?"
Yes.  Yes, it does!
Frank's view from the top of the band stands.

Frank hangs out with the drum line in the stands.
I didn't get this Alumni dude's name, but he was nice.
He was additionally considerate in that he didn't take out my
kneecaps in his furious mallet swings when they played!



The show looks good!  Go, Cougar Band!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

...Yep.

Lots of ups and downs right now, but this still made me laugh. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Will Never Forget


I didn't write about the 10th anniversary remembrance of the 9/11/01 Attack on America yesterday for a number of reasons.  I got up earlier than I usually would to get ready for church.  Jake had come home from the Birmingham job late Saturday night so that he could attend the memorial service with his family.  A most welcome change, since this job has dragged on and on, leaving us both frustrated and annoyed at not being able to have a normal family life at all.  I got the kids up and we all got ready to go.  At 8:50, we left the house.  Jake and I began to talk about it a little in the car.  

"What time of day did it actually happen?" he asked me. "I heard about it at work that night, but didn't have phone or TV at the time.  So I never saw the footage, or wanted to."

I glanced at the clock on the dash.  9:02.  Really?

"The second plane hit the towers 10 years ago right now."  
I told him where I had been when it happened:

I was 20 years old and a student at American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, where my dad had taught before (and when) he died.  I was majoring in Graphic Design.  Not because I wanted to, but because that was the closest thing to "Art" they had to offer, being mainly a business degree school.  I was sort of floating aimlessly about, since Dad had died so suddenly and my world flipped upside down.  We had no money for me to attend anywhere else and I was more or less winging it, every day.  

I did enjoy my classes, though, and as I've never been a "morning person", I scheduled as many later classes as I could.  One ran until 10 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, putting me home somewhere around 11 or 11:30.  Homework after that left my bedtime hovering consistently between 1 and 3 a.m. most nights.  I had endured such a night on Monday, the 10th of September, and at 8:45 a.m. on the morning of the 11th, I was blissfully snuggled in my covers, not having to force myself up until an afternoon work shift at Michael's.

My mom called my phone and woke me up.  "You really need to come in my room and see the news." she said.  "Something weird is going on.  You should call Jennifer Tomassini right now." Jennifer was my best friend of 10 years and she lived in New York, attending the USMMA and setting up the first of what would turn into many years of school to become a pharmacist.  

New York.  909 miles away (says Google Maps), it may as well have been on the other side of the world to me.  I've always wanted to visit NYC, but stuff got in the way.  School. Work. Airfare prices.  (That much hasn't changed in the last 10 years.  I still haven't been, and for all the same reasons.)  As I stood in front of mom's TV dialing Jennifer's number, two things happened.  It was 9:02 and mom and I watched in horror as the second plane came careening in on the right side of the screen and exploded into the second tower.  My brain just wouldn't process what I was seeing.  This was a live TV feed and it was 100% for real.  

As the buzzing in my head slowly faded away, I realized that there was noise coming from my phone, which I was holding dumbly near my ear.  It was a busy signal.  Every phone line to New York was jammed for hours.  I didn't really know where Jennifer worked or what she did all day.  For all I knew, she was in or near those towers that I was watching crash to the ground.  I couldn't breathe.  When I finally got hold of her, I remember feeling my heart start beating again.  I was so relieved to know she was ok.  She had been some miles away, but it still freaked me out that she was in the general area of this horrible thing.  She called every couple of days after that to help keep us updated on what she knew, but it was more or less the same things we heard on the news.

I still had to go to work later that afternoon, but there weren't many people out.  Most stayed fairly near a TV or radio.  I remember that there were no planes in the sky at all.  Very odd for a suburb of Atlanta, and one of the busiest airports in the world.  Nothing, for days.  It was very eerie.

Life for me went on, though, and I went to school, work, got married and had children.  Time marched on, and here we are 10 years down the road.  While I didn't know anyone personally that died that day, I know that many of my freedoms had been taken away or limited in the aftermath.  Words I had never considered before have now become part of my regular vocabulary.  "Homeland Security".  "Al Qaeda".  "Terrorist".  My world, once small and neat, has been broadened, shaken, and altered.

My stepchildren were 1 and 3 when it happened.  Yesterday, at 11 and almost 13, they watched memorial videos with footage from that day and just sat in the pew with their mouths open and eyes wide.  This is the kind of thing I am fighting to keep out of the world I pass along to you, my loves.  I'm sorry.  I wish those things didn't happen, but they do.  Did.  Are.  Old enough now to understand what happened and (partially) why, they are appalled.

My husband's Aunt had this on her blog, and as it's Monday I am sharing it for Music Monday.  It gave me chills to watch.  I won't ever forget what that day means for me as an American citizen.  It's sobering, but not defeating.  Turn up the sound and pray for America.  She needs it now, more than ever.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Have Some Insulin Ready...


For years my Grandmother has made this awesome banana pudding.  She taught me how to make it and for a long time now as I've stood over the saucepan, constantly stirring to make sure the mixture didn't stick on the bottom, I've let my mind wander to what other variations could be made off of the basic recipe.

It's just a vanilla custard of sugar, flour, egg yolks, milk and margarine.  It doesn't become "banana" pudding until I pour it over the sliced bananas and vanilla wafers in the baking dish. Hmmmm....

A couple of weeks ago, my friends TJ and Kayla Brown were visiting and I made shepherd's pie for supper.  Afterward, Kayla helped me make a banana pudding for dessert.  As she worked on the meringue and I tended the custard, I shared with her my idea of making something new.  We brainstormed about all kinds of possibilities, but ultimately kept coming back to the idea of turning the regular custard into a chocolate one.

There is a festival coming up next weekend, and I've invited them back to visit again.  I thought it would be wonderful if I could experiment with the recipe and, if I hit on a winner, present it to them for dessert when they come over.

After scouring Allrecipes.com to find the ratios for a chocolate custard (I knew I wasn't the first person to think of all this), I put together what I thought would be the ultimate chocolate dessert recipe.  I didn't get to try it until early this afternoon, but when I got the opportunity, I went straight to work on it.
 Oh. My. Goodness.

It is super sweet.  (Like, "hear-your-teeth-rot" kind of sweet!)  It is super chocolatey.  It is SUPER GOOD!!!

Of course I am too generous to keep something like this all to myself!  Here are some photos, followed by the recipe itself.  Enjoy!*






Ingredients:
(Custard)
3 egg yolks
1 ½ cups sugar
4 Tbs self-rising flour
2 Tbs cocoa
1 ½ cups milk
2 Tbs butter or margarine
(Meringue)
3 egg whites
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp cocoa
Approx half a package of chocolate creame Oreos. (We used Kroger brand “Chocolate Lover’s Kiddos”)


Directions:
Line the bottom of an 8x8 square glass baking dish with chocolate creme Oreos.
For custard: In a medium sauce pan, stir together sugar, flour and cocoa.  In small bowl, beat egg yolks and milk together.  Stir beaten egg and milk in with dry mixture.  Over medium heat, stir constantly, breaking up any lumps, until sauce begins to thicken. (Take special care that it doesn’t stick/scorch on the bottom!)  Stir in butter/margarine until melted.  Continue stirring until custard is a medium thick consistency.
Pour custard over the Oreos and let sit while meringue is being made.
For meringue: Preheat oven to 350°.  In large mixing bowl, mix ½ cup sugar with ½ tsp cocoa.  With electric mixer, whip egg whites with dry mixture until stiff peaks form.  
Pour meringue over custard and spread evenly until all sides are sealed.  Bake until top of meringue is golden brown.  
Serve warm, or let cool and refrigerate for 1 hour and serve cold.  Keep any left overs refrigerated.

*I'm completely serious about how rich this thing is.  If your family finds you dead on the kitchen floor, it is NOT my fault!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

They Cause Scenes...

Happy Wednesday!


I didn't have any poetry (again), so for your "I-am-so-phoning-this-in-again-Video-Wednesday" pleasure, here are three of my favorite missions from a group called "Improv Everywhere".  Basically, the goal of this group of improv actors is to make a call out to the fun-loving masses to meet up and play out some fun scenarios (seemingly) at random, in public places and see how many people (who are not in on it) pay attention.  They've done everything from bursting into musical song in places like the grocery store, the mall food court and a technology conference, to supporting a Salvation Army bell ringer with a full out hand bell choir and turning a kids carousel ride into a day at the races.

They've completed over 100 missions, to the general astonishment and (usual) delight of the average Joe Public around them.  May we all take a page from their book (they really have one, here) and do fun, clean, unexpected things in the world around us that make people smile and connect with one another.

My Three Favorites:

Invisible Dogs:

King Phillip IV:

The Mute Button:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

August Gratitudes


August is over already??!  I had a lot to deal with, but I also had much to be thankful for!


  • 8.31- Crane Paper Co.'s Pen Pal idea
  • 8.30- The life and shining light of Sheila Richards
  • 8.29- Counsel and reason
  • 8.28- Getting to know the new church
  • 8.27- Spending the day out and about with the kids
  • 8.26- Tech Swing Dance Epicness
  • 8.25- iPod dock/charger/alarm clock on massive sale! Yay! I feel like one of the cool kids!
  • 8.24- 2 hours of work, then 4 errands finished all before noon!
  • 8.23- Nap after a sleepless night.
  • 8.22- Nice customer service reps when I have to work out insurance stuff
  • 8.21- A new friend at church
  • 8.20- Epic KSU swing dance with old friends and some new ones!
  • 8.19- Being able to partner with my favorite Christian radio station. J93.3 rocks! :)
  • 8.18- Blessed with a formal dress ($45 down from $160) like the one I wanted last year but couldn't get. A few adjustments and I can wear it to the Fox Theatre to see Wicked!
  • 8.17- Remembering my Dad. Today would have been his 56th birthday.
  • 8.16- Benadryl! Allergic reactions where I can't breathe are not ok.
  • 8.15- New part time job!!! Also got a big chunk of photo editing done!
  • 8.14- Epic and Fantabulous photo shoot with a swing dance friend. Confidence over my photography skills spikes to an all time high.
  • 8.13- Quiet time to write posts and plot photo shoots and whatever else
  • 8.12- Call from husband to say he got back to the job safely and misses me already
  • 8.11- AMAZING marriage conference. Kirk Cameron. Warren Barfield. God is moving in our lives in a big way!!!
  • 8.10- Husband came home from out of town job!
  • 8.9- Alarm clocks that work
  • 8.8- Positive feedback on top photos to go in my portfolio
  • 8.7- 7th Anniversary. Husband and I have thus far managed to not kill each other. ;)
  • 8.6- Mani-pedis with Christina before she goes back to Iraq
  • 8.5- New favorite movie score
  • 8.4- Kids to the bus on time; going to be a great new school year!
  • 8.3- Long visit with Dad's mom
  • 8.2- Old friends are Jeremy's new teachers this year
  • 8.1- Friend Christina is home on leave from Iraq!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Amen!

I LOVE this bluesy number from New World Son called "Sweet Holy Spirit".  Crank it up loud and let it get down into your soul!