Friday, February 26, 2010

AI: Finally Unloading Four Losers

I could not wait to get this night over with.  Four of these annoying people were going to be gone and out of my life forever.  Yay!  I knew my faves would stay so I popped some popcorn, put up my feet and got ready to say "SO LONG LOSERS!"

But first, an uncomfortable lip synced group number.  Some things to note:
  • DirtyTeeth wasn't feelin' it.  Why doesn't she like cheesy poses and lame choreography?  I don't get her.
  • Flem Dewyze is waaaay shorter than I had imagined.  He's still the adorable rocker.  Just an observation.
  • This was way better than that Hot & Cold number they did with Blindy.  But it made me miss that Hot & Cold number with Blindy.  I can't explain it.  
Oooooooh kay...let's jump right to it. SEE YA, WOULDN'T WANNA BE YA to this vanilla flavored, dimple sporting, unoriginal Nervous Nellie. 


::musical interlude with Troll Doll.  Fuchsia hair with blue highlights. Strange interaction with Ryan::

Then bam! PEACE OUT to this Jordin Sparks fan, typical, minimal exposure getting, ARod from the Block.  She was exuding a distinct "green team" vibe there at the end.  Very angry and very unable to hide it.  Good bye, Ashley.  I won't miss you.


Commercial break.
ADIOS! to the Latino Ben Stiller, non-guitar playing, AI virtual stranger.  I do wish DBagDiva would have gone over LBS but I'm not torn up about it or anything.


Wha?  What's this?  Kris???? EEEEEeeeeeekkkkkk!!  Love him.  He's as adorable as I remember.  I really need him to put out a better 2nd album.  I don't want him to disappear.  Not just yet.  My only complaint is too much footage of him with the kids and not enough upclose shots of his face.  Or biceps.
Aaaaaaand then, LATER GATOR to Mr. WrongDecade, bathrobe wearing, rock star wannabe, American Womanizer.


That wraps up this week's American Idol rundowns.  I'll see you and you next Tuesday night.  Any word on what the "theme" will be next week?  I hope the theme is "Perform A Song with Kris Allen."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

1 Minute 30 Seconds

Please to enjoy until the results show.....

AI: The Doods

I know we've got 12 young men here fighting for my attention but my heart still belongs to Kris.  I have to stop the FFwding and watch his Ford commercials.  He is so adorable because he thinks his car is a video game and he's supposed to collect leaves.  ::sigh:: Miss him.  Click here to see why.  Oh, and start at Chapter One so you don't ruin it for yourself.

"You know I'm a fan of yours, right?"   <--- that's Randy Code for you sucked.

Ellen says what everyone is thinking at home.  If I start loving her anymore Gty is gonna have a problem.

Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson
Well, I gotta hand it to him.  He certainly took this song and "made it his own."  The issue now is that "his own" is early 90s R&B.  Yo, yo, yo, know I'm a fan of yours, right?

Archuletta 2.0
Here Comes Goodbye by Rascal Flatts
Has he been selling himself as a country boy this whole time and I missed it?   Where did this come from?  I mean, yes, obviously the boy can sing a song.  Everyone here can sing.  He just rubs me the wrong way.  And it's NOT because he's a closet-gay.  I love the gays.  I adored Clay Aiken, fhs.  He's just too....too... smiley & goofy or something.  I can't put it into words but you knowwhati'msayin.  I won't be sad when he goes back to his Algebra II class.

DBag Diva
Get Here by Oleta Adams
Holy ebonics, Batman!  He "ain't gonna throw nobody under da bus no more."  I was so glad he made a conscious decision on that.  He claims he is a "church singer."  Is that a profession?  Or was he saying he sang in church on Sundays.  And if you're hiring a church singer, do you want one with a neck tattoo?  His song was dumb.  He sang it dumb.  He is dumb.  And then "Who is Michael?" at the end?  He had a lot of making up to do to change American's opinion of him and he gets an F from me on that one.  I like him even less now.

Apologize by One Republic
He shoulda done the "featuring Timbaland" version or something because that was....not... in his range.  Way too high and strained on the chorus.  Positives:  He gives off a Jon Peter Lewis vibe which I like.  He has Gty's cute red cheeks/complexion.  And he didn't tell his family he had made it back onto AI?  Hilarious.  That speaks volumes about his personality whereas his performance did not.  "People are gonna feel sorry for you," said Simon.  It's true.  Which is why, had my voting not been closed in my time zone by the time I was done watching, I would have cast a few votes for him.  He can do better.

Latino Ben Stiller
You & I by Jason Mraz
I'm thinking "my fingers froze" was code for "I don't really know how to play the guitar."  I'm interested to see (if he should stay on) if he ever tries to play the guitar on stage again.  I'm guessing no.  This was my first time ever hearing his voice speaking or singing and I'd say it was aaiiiiight.  Nothing terrible.  Nothing great. 

American Woman by BTO
How much do you think tuition is at "How To Look and Act Like a Rockstar" school is?  Cuz I totally want to go!  It's taught 70s a thing or two anyway.  He works the camera like Constantine used to.  I think he's a funny guy so I'm kinda rooting for him even though he is a little undeserving talent wise.  I thought it was a good song choice for him and he did with it what he could.  I'm torn with this dude and I don't even know why.

Flem Dewyze
Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
::raising eyebrows::  Well now, what have we here?  He is one of those poor people who have gotten very little face time with the American public and yet here I sit, enjoying him.  He was all ga-ga that Simon had tapped his hand during his performance during Hollywood week which I found adorable.  I liked his song choice.  I like his guitar playing.  I love his hair.  He's a real dude's dude.  I bet he won a lot of people over tonight.

God Bless The Child by Billie Holiday
What in the song choice is going on here?  Bad bad bad bad.  I don't care if this song is "important to him."  Is this the kind of craptastic music he would put out if he wins the record contract?  I know nothing more about him musically now than I did yesterday.  I bet Shania didn't even pick up the phone and vote for him & his "nice lips" and great "bottom end" on that one.  Indulgent is right.

Big Mike
This Love by Maroon 5
Love the song choice and I think he sang it really well.  Here is where I fell a little deeper in love with Ellen because she says what everyone is thinking at home.  "Ok, could have been a little better but everyone loved watching you on the phone with your wife as she's having your baby.  People love your story."  Exactly.  Never underestimate the power of a good sob story.  It can outweigh pitchy in a second.

Green Banana
Wonderful World by James Morrison
If you were wondering, THAT is what Gty's hair looked like in high school.  The long swept bangs mullet combo.  It was a big hit with the ladies.  I'm not surprised Greeny is trying to bring it back.   The clips of him in group during Hollywood Week rekindled my hatred of Mary so that was good.  As for his performance I was uncomfortable during most of it.  It seemed like he was reading the lyrics off of cue cards or something.  And it seemed like his little gestures and steps were all choreographed by some strict stage mom who will beat him if he messes up.  Poor widdle guy.

Heaven by Bryan Adams
I must have a thing with Bryan Adams songs that I am just now beginning to own.  I had a similar "reaction" when Chris Daughtry sang his "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman."  I won't go into the details of my reaction but, you can imagine, I'm sure.  I enjoyed it.  That's all I'll say.  And I enjoyed this song as well.  I wish Kara would have just sat there and let him play.  So distracting.  He was practically suppressing the giggles the whole time.  It did keep him from taking himself too seriously though so that's good.  He's still at the top of my list.   No changes there.

Sugar, We're Goin Down by Fall Out Boy
I'm thinking the judges had never heard the original Fall Out Boy version of this song before.  He totally "Straight Up"-ed it!  What was their problem?  I loved it and I love him.  He described himself as a "musician and stay-at-home-dad."  Is that code for unemployed?  I don't really care either way, just asking.  And upon further/closer inspection I can tell you that those glasses ain't for show, you gize.  Those things have to be a more than half an inch thick!!   I can't wait for him to start up his own line with LensCrafters so Gokey will have some competition. 

All in all I wasn't as impressed with the guys as I was hoping but there were a few bright spots here and there.  Pleasantly surprised with Flem & his rocker voice.  And Casey & Andrew were obvious favorites as well.

Who Goes Home?:  I'm thinking DBagDiva and LuckyDuck.

But who really knows.  Latino Ben Stiller could be gone as well.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

AI: Girls Night Out

I think Kara was using the bangs Bumpit.

 Ellen is killin' it.  I've never-not-once regretted hiring her.

Simon says it's "the girls' year this year?" Don't think so.

Randy.  I have nothing to say here, and neither does he.  Ever.  I say next we replace him with Chris Rock.

Paige Miles
Alright Now by Free
She has no nickname because I just met her tonight.  And she didn't exactly give me anything to work with.  She's a huge MJ fan, which is good.  And she's not afraid to say pee on national television, which is also good.  But she's pretty much the norm as far as AI contestants go.  Bad song choice.  I felt like the judges piled on the praise in order to make up for her lack of previous exposure on the show.  Like the producers bossed them into it or something.  Because their accolades were undeserving, believachoome.

Happy by Leona Lewis
Another practical stranger I was reacquainted with this evening.  I feel like she is your run-of-the-mill pop singer type.  She sings well enough but here in Season 9 of AI, I don't think that will be enough.  It's not enough for me anyway.  I'm over it.  Combine that with her zero exposure and she could be in trouble. 

What About Love by Heart
Wow.  What a Nervous Nellie!!  Some start out nervous but relax by the end of their song.  Not Dimple.  She was crazy nervous through the whole song and the mic was shaking even on her last note.  This also made her a bit pitchy and awkward.  Not to mention her lack of originality.   She might not be gone this week but it will be soon if she doesn't shape up.

Fixing A Hole by The Beatles
Her hair was a more natural shade of platinum blonde tonight which was easier on my eye.  I enjoy her.  She's comfortable.  She's original.  She's one-off.   I like it.  I don't like her different feather earrings she keeps sporting though.  I'm beginning to think she has a disorder with her earlobes where they can't support any weight but she loves dangling earrings so these are her only option.   I mean, what would be the other explanation?  No one would wear feather earrings by choice.  Unless you used to live out of your car.... hmmm... something to think about.  Bottom line: Me likey.

Curly Sue
Oh! Darling by The Beatles
She's Kelly Clarkson's voice doppelganger!!  I closed my eyes for a bit and I swear, spittin image.  I love Kelly Clarkson but I wonder if we need another one.  And not just another one, but another one with huge blonde hair which distracts me from how cute she really is.  I want to see it straightened, or atleast tamed a bit.  It was sad to see her Dad not in the audience ::whispering:: her parents are getting divorced, remember?  I give her 7 out of 10 stars.

Chocolate Country (CC)
I Wanna Hold Your Hand by The Beatles
Gty made up that name, btw.  Not me.  I hate that she got her nose pierced.  HATE it.  Remember how the Terets guy wasn't affected by his Terets when he was singing?  I wish CC wasn't affected by her lisp when she was singing, but alas, she is.  I can see how she has some "originality" but it's not MY kind of originality.  She's too cutesy and young.  I may be turning into a crotchety old curmudgeon but I don't like the young whippersnappers anymore. 

Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
Wow she was bad.  I mean, reeeeeally bad.  Painfully bad.  I had a sour look on my face and my shoulders pulled up to my ears the whole performance.  She sounded just like Bjork which is one of the meanest things someone can say about a singer.  Plus nose piercing.  And lack of personality.  Bad hair.  She's in trouble.

Michelle Delamour
Falling by Alicia Keys
Eh.  I don't know.  Obviously she can sing & everything but she's so....Whitney Houston.  It may have been the song choice though.  She's not my kind of artist but she can definitely sing.  Her lack of exposure could also be detrimental to her cause.

The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson
I'm a fan.  I've always been a fan.  I like the song but I think the judges made some good points.  It was a little "low key" and "slow."  At the same time, I think her rockin out would seem forced and weird.  And then they'd blast her for not being true to herself or something lame like that.   I did hate her updated hippie look though.  Unflattering to the nth degree. 

Shabown the Glass Blower
Wicked Game by Chris Isaak
There was about a year of my life where I was obsessed with this song.  OB. Sessed.  This reminded me that I need to get it back into my iTunes asap.  But enough about me.  Doesn't she remind you of Rachel on Glee?  Same strained facial expressions like she wants it so bad she can almost taste it.  Similar tone to her voice.  I'm beginning to think that, outside the singing, she might be the most interesting person on here.  A glass blower apprentice?  C'mon.  This has to be a joke, right?  No?  Ok.  I wanna know what her tattoo is too.  I hate tats but hers is probably intriguing.   But ew, another nose piercing.  What is this world coming to?

Hand In My Pocket by Alanis Morisette
I'm obviously following all the contestants on Twitter (I do it for you, the reader, not my own personal enjoyment) and DT had an interesting tweet on her second day... "let me just clear one thing up. I rinse, repeat. Just like normal hair. I just don’t have to fuss with styling it...."  So yeah.  Just like normal hair.  I may need to start calling her Dreds tho because her teeth looked 58% better tonight!  She never woulda gotten her nickname had her teeth looked like this before.  Do you think she's got fake ones on or just used some Crest White Strips?  I'm dying to know.  Either way, bravo, AI...bravo.  As for her performance, I detest the harmonica neck brace but I enjoyed her performance.  She falls into the Melissa Ethridge/Indigo Girls/other lesbian artists category, no question.  I like that category so izzallgood.  Her clean cut husband throws me for a loop though.  I don't get it.

Feeling Good by Michael Buble
Thank goodness they showed poor old Granny again because I think she is the one that picked Alz's song, earrings and headband.  What is she, like, 40?  Wait no.  17.  Hmmmm... again, me no likey the youngins.  Even when they act 3x their age.  Go home Diana Digarmo 2.0.  

Predictions of who is gone:  Kate+8 and maybe CC.  But I'm also open to one of the strangers we met tonight as well as I don't know how well they introduced themselves.  I feel bad for Kate+8.  This would mean she only got one more step beyond last year.  But srsly.  It was awful.

Eeeeeeek!  Boys tonight!  I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself.   

Monday, February 22, 2010

Another Benefit of Turning Ocho

^^The kid puts on a uniform and he starts acting like this.^^   

But don't worry.  It didn't last too long.

TBone is excited about scouts.  I mean, really excited.  He looks forward to it every week.  Thank goodness he has extremely organized and fun leaders who "understand him."  That always helps.  Now when he shouts out off-topic, borderline obnoxious things at pack meeting he now actually belongs there rather than just being the disruptive little brother of a scout.

On a personal note, it's so nice not having to worry about what to do with him during scouts/YW night.  Beebs always tags along with me but TBone usually wandered the halls of the church to see what everyone else was doing.  I never had any idea where he was at any given time.  I now know.  That's a load off.    PS I also love that Magic Badge stuff.  No sewing.  JBird's badges have held up really well with that stuff too.  Genius.

On another TBone note, he brought home an interesting paper from school.  It was another little fill-in-the-blank type worksheet (my personal faves) called "I Have Plans For The Future!"  Here are his answers in bold:

When I'm in sixth grade, I hope I am smort.
When I'm in high school, I would like to be in a cwiyer.
When I'm 25, I hope I will be maryd.
When I grow up, I would really like to be a casheer.

He's obviously got big plans.  I think they call it shooting for the moon?  Are there places to work that give cashiers benefits?  Just wondering.

Friday, February 19, 2010

AI: The Girls As I See It

Let's not mess around with formalities and hop right to it.

Double D
I love her sound and her style.  I had never heard that Kara song (Terrified) before and I instantly loved it when Double D sang it in Hollywood.  I also loved her audition.  Her sob story (SS) is that her BFF died and wanted her to try out for AI so she did.  Ok.  I do love that she was just a waitress and now she's here.  Those peeps that were giving her anywhere from 15-30% had no idea.

What up Denver?!?!  I have a special place in my heart for the Coloradians.  It can't be helped.  And this Coloradian actually has some honest to goodness talent.  I think the stylists could work some wonders on her.  The color of her hair is borderline insane.  But I really love her sound and I think she'll make me proud with her songs.  Not a fan of the treble clef tat on the forearm but I can't have it all.

Dirty Teeth
Do you think she's a heavy coffee drinker?  Smoker?  Tetracycline user?  I don't understand how the teeth have reached this state at such a young age.  There has to be a reason.  I'm guessing she has started her first round of Crest White Strips and this issue will soon be rectified (hate that word, btw).  Between her poofy bangs and dreadlocks the stylists are gonna have their work cut out for them on this one.   Regardless of the state of her teeth and hair, she is the real deal.  Very Indigo Girl-esque.  Her one-man-band impression was spot on.  I also appreciated that in her info she had "musician/mom" as her occupation.  I do NOT appreciate that she got her kid's name tattooed on her back.  Gross.  If my mom had MY name on her back I'd.... I'd.... ::shuddering::  End of discussion.

That's right.  She's so vanilla I can't even think of a decent nickname for her.  She is a tricky one because I like her one minute and hate her the next.  Her rendition of Love Story in her final performance was awful.  But I had enjoyed her before that.  I dunno.  Time will tell with this one.

ToddlerDancer's BFF
I give her credit for trying again & making it to the top 24 this year.  Seeing how terrible ToddlerDancer was last year and realizing she beat you out had to have been painful.  That's pretty much all I can tell you about this one.  I can't remember any of her performances.  She seems nice tho.

Curly Sue
Cute.  Nice.  Good singer.  Doesn't blow me away.  Her sob story is that her dad left her mom and now they're getting divorced.  Welcome to more than 50% of all marriages, eh? Still, I guess that's 100% of her parents' marriages so....  dang.  Now I'm depressed.  Moving on.

I think that's how you pronounce her name.  Her parents should be put in jail for that one.  This is the one Jenny refers to as BushyBrows but I don't see it.  Are those eyebrows bushy?  I've seen bushier.  Just sayin!!   As for her singing, I think she'll be interesting.  She could go either way...totally awful or she could surprise us.  Aren't I going out on a ledge here?

Worst sob story ever!!  "I have a grandma.  And she's old. So....yeah..."  What is that?  She's too young for my taste too.  She's this year's Diana DiGarmo but she won't be able to hack it.  Plus, she has a lot of things against her in this life.  Like an old grandma, for example.

Urban Cowgirl
I've flip flopped on her a couple of times.  She's from CO! Yay!  She's 16. Boo.  Her audition is adorable!  Yay!  Her last song in Hollywood was beyond annoying. Boo.  I have a feeling she's gonna be reeeeeal hit & miss.  Heavy on the miss.

I have nothing to say on the last three girls.  I can't even think of nicknames due to the fact that I either can't remember anything about them or I've literally never seen them before.  I wish them the best of luck though.

Michelle Delamor

Ashley Rodriguez

Paige Miles

Thursday, February 18, 2010

American Idol: Landee Gets Back to The Real Purpose of Her Life

I'm just gonna shoot from the hip, make snap judgments and grasp at straws here since I don't know much about these poor innocent people that American Idol has decided to put up for our scrutiny.  But I'll have fun doing it.  Cuz what reality TV is all about. ::said like my friend Ryan Seacrest::

Let's spend a day on the guys, shall we?  We shall.  I welcome all suggestions for nicknames, btw. Nothing is ever set in stone.  These are in no particular order, except from my favorite to least favorite:

Mmmmmm.... Casey..... hi.  I'm Landee.  Yes, his audition was a bit embarrassing, what with the removal of his shirt and all, but the second I saw him playing that guitar in Hollywood I was hooked.  I don't blame Kara for that leg kick when he hugged her.  I'm surprised that's all she did actually.  He's like the bluesyness of Bo Bice with the hair of Constantine and the laid back confidence of Kris Allen all wrapped into one tall drink of water with piercing blue eyes!  Plus, he's about to make the name Casey cool so I say yes please.


The Latino Gokey.  
This is strictly because of the glasses as he and Gokey are NOTHING alike in any other way.  Examples: Gokey was a worship pastor guy.  Andrew has neck tattoos.  Gokey's wife died.  Andrew's wife has insane hair most people wouldn't be caught dead having.   Gokey sucked.  Andrew is amaaaaaazing.  Truly.  His Pauler Abdul's "Straight Up?"  Please.  He's gonna be tough to beat this year.   Did you know you can follow all the contestants on Twitter this year?  Go HERE for their usernames if you're interested.  They also have MySpaces and Facebooks.  The point is, as I went through and clicked FOLLOW on each of them it would show you how many followers they already had.  Many were under 200.  Some surpised me with 400-500 followers.  Then I clicked on Andrew..... 4,000+ followers already!!!   So I guess I'm not the only one.  (Sad that Thaddeus & his mom even thought they had a chance going up against Andrew.  I mean, be serious).

You know, being funny goes a long way for me.  And The ToddRodd is funny.  I  usually hate when people audition with "an original song" but his was enjoyable.  Then when he was picking up on those girls at the pool and was like "Will you be my fiance?  Can I meet your parents?  Do they know I'm black?"  I was laughing.  Plus, he's good.  He's not cocky and apparently he's actually a trained dancer, has never done any singing.  I like good, natural talent. We'll try to forget he was in cahoots with Fantasia for a while there.

Big Mike.
The fattest personal trainer I've ever seen but, whatareyagonnado?  I love it when he picks up Ryan like Ryan is 3 years old.  He also so big his guitar looks like a ukulele.   But I enjoy him.  No one expects a voice like his to come out of a body like that so it's interesting.  I do have one more shots of his wife in the hospital!!  She's all naked and disgusting.  Srsly.  Yuck.  But congrats to him on the new baby.  I was on the edge of my seat while she was pushing on the phone. ::gag::

The rest are in no particular order.  They're all at the bottom of the list for me for various reasons but I don't dislike or like one more than I dislike or like the other.

The Token Asian Guy
They blew past him making it last night and I don't remember much about his audition but I do remember thinking he was good.  And he's cute.  Bottom line: I was happy he was in so I could see more.  I wasn't ready to say goodbye.

Lee Flemster
Zero exposure, which I think he should sue the show for, but the 20 seconds I heard him sing I enjoyed him.  Kind of a rocker, husky voiced semi-attractive guy.  Nothing to hate.  Nothing to love.  I can't wait to hear what he does next week.  He could be the next Daughtry for all I know.

Tim "The Luckiest Sucker Alive" Urban
If it looks like this picture was taken by his mom in front of a red wall, it's because it probably was.  See, Tim Urban got into the top 24 only after a secret record contract was unearthed for Chris Golightly causing him to be disqualified (I won't miss Chris' awful hair, I'll tell you that right now).  So apparently they couldn't get the original photographer to come back for poor Tim's photo shoot.  My opinion on him?  So glad you asked.... I have none. He's cute but seems like he's 12 years old.  

Alex "We already have a Lambert" Lambert
Unfortunate last name.  Really unfortunate.  And it's not his fault, it just is.  I do like his Jason Mraz feel though.  However, as much as I enjoy the ukulele, I am wondering if he can make it cool.  There's just something about that miniature guitar that prevents it from being too awesome.  I wonder if he can play a regular guitar.  That would be a plus.  I'm up in the air on him.  He seems boring.  But I wouldn't hate for him to prove me wrong.

 Wrong Decade
His Jay Leno chin and Joker smile don't do much for me.  Neither do his skinny jeans and swagger around the stage.  And I don't even think he sings very well.  He's gonna kill it during Rolling Stones week tho.  Mariah Carey week will be tough for him.

Archuletta 2.0
This adorable kid has about another year before he realizes he's gay and then another 2 years before he up and tells his aunt/mom.  I'm not feeling it for him but it's probably because he seems so fragile to me.  This show is going to crush him.  I guarantee he's already an emotional wreck.  Without the Mormon factor (that Archy 1.0 had) he's just a scared little boy who I have no interest in.

I promise I've watched every episode of this season's AI and I've never seen this guy before.  Not in auditions, not in the first round of Hollywood, not in group....never.  Ever.  I think there's been a mix up.

Dbag Diva
He's at the bottom here for a reason.  I hate him.  Complaining about the band?  Are you kidding me?  Never diss the band.  Just look at his face up there.  Intolerable.  He and his checkered suspenders need to leave.  I'm surprised the judges put him through after that move but I don't forgive as easily as they do, apparently.  The only person I hated more than him was Mary.  Thank goodness she got what was coming to her.  I just hope DBag is off the first week.  

So there you have it.  My take on the Top 12 Guys so far.  I think it's a decent group.  Lots of talent and diversity.  I will also say that I'm enjoying Ellen's addition to the panel.  She can be a bit chatty when delivering news but she won't be like that for the live shows.  Her humorous comments are just what this show needed.  I can't even pretend to miss Pauler.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's Their Own Fault

I get home from the grocery store and go to put some things in the cupboard.  I start moving some boxes around to make room and I discover THIS:


I hope they like peanut butter on a spoon and canned peaches for a snack.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Funny Valentine

So here are the Valentines I did for the kids this year.  Believe it or not, this is easier for me than buying a box at the store, making the kids write all the names on them, figuring out how to affix some candy to them, etc.

Plus, they're cute & fun.




 I don't know if I'll be able to get JBird to do it again (is 5th grade too old for this?) but he says all the kids in his class loved it this year.  TBone's was a hit and, of course, who could resist Beebee's?  I was entirely deflated, however, when Beebs returned home from school on Thursday (the day of the Valentine's Day festivities) with ALL of her Valentines still in her bag.  She didn't hand any of them out!  Now, who do I blame here... her for not listening to direction/not hearing the directions or the teachers for not making sure all the kids went around and passed theirs out??  She just turned FOUR fhs.  It was the most annoying thing that had happened to me all week and, if you read my last post, you  know I had been highly annoyed all week.  So we gave some to the neighbors and I'm trying to decide if I should send them in on the next school day for the kids.  I waffle between wanting the parents to see how cute they are and not wanting the parents to think I'm a total flake/late Valentine maker.  I also don't want to be stuck with 20 of these things either.   Oh my trials!!  ::repeating "What doesn't kill me will only make me stronger" while rocking back & forth::

Now, help me translate this Valentine TBone got from a cute girl in his class named Sam.

Stalker in training?
Please advise.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Chicago Edition

Alternate titles to this post: 
  • I Hear Milwaukee is Beautiful This Time of Year
  • The Trip to Hades/Chicago
  • How The Clarks Saved an Otherwise Disastrous Trip
  • What Some People Will Go Through To Keep Their Status on Southwest Airlines
  • What Did People Do Before the Internet and iPhones?
  • Our Romantic Polish Winter Getaway
  • How To Never Be Warm for Three Days
  • An Unplanned Trip Down Memory Lane
  • A Feel Good Valentine's Day Post

So, a few months ago, Gty realized he was dangerously close to losing his prestigious status with Southwest Airlines.  He would only be a few credits short from keeping this hard earned status and he wasn't going to let it go without a fight.  It provides him with many perks including a companion pass in which he can always have someone fly with him for free.  He has some trips planned in the future which will necessitate the use of this companion pass so he devised a plan to keep it.

PLAN:  He and I would fly to Milwaukee (a destination which gave him double credits) when his parents were in town for TBone's baptism.  He would get a cheap ticket for himself and I'd go as his companion.  We'd fly in, drive down to Chicago (less than 2 hours away), see some friends, do a couple of things downtown, fly home.  Quick.  Easy.  Fun.

 The trip started out as planned.  We woke at 4:30am on Monday morning and headed to the airport.  Not ideal but we needed an early flight to fit everything in.  Our flight was fine.  We watched a few episodes of Mad Men and were on our merry way.  After driving through Milwaukee (and being,  Milwaukee looks like an awful place to live), we grabbed a quick lunch and drove down to Chicago.  We checked into our hotel & headed over to our friends' home to go out to dinner.

The Clarks have been one of our good couple friends since college.  Kelli and I were in the same major (Humanities, tyvm.  Don't ask either of us what it is tho) and we had several classes together.  I think she graduated from HS a year after me but since I was able to push myself and squeeze 4 years of college into 5 we ended up in many of the same upper level courses.  We eventually figured out that she and Jeff lived right across the street from us.... fate!   We've only been able to see them once every few years, however.  We spent a Thanksgiving at her parent's house in CT when we were living in NY.  Then they moved to Pittsburgh and we saw them a couple of times there.  Then we moved to OH and they drove through once on their way to IL.   So we were due for a visit with them and we made it happen.

We got to see their awesome house and meet their two youngest kids (yes, it had been a while since we last saw each other) and we went out to a fun local restaurant.  We then headed over to a cute little fondue place for some dessert.  I won't mention the idiot who worked there, cuz it will ruin the picturesque scene I'm trying to create here. We then went back to their house and waaaay overstayed our welcome by chatting with them until the wee hours of the morning.   It's always so fun to catch up with old friends.  We adore these guys.

Aaaaaand, this is where the story takes a turn for the worst.  

We wake up the next morning and call back to the homestead to see how Gty's parents and the kiddies are getting along.  As I'm talking to them, Southwest Airlines calls the home phone (thank goodness Phil answered) and informs us our flight home the next day has been canceled.  Apparently the weather was not cooperating.  What??  February in Milwaukee and the weather is bad?  No...couldn't be.  This is a vacation destination fhs!!  


So then this was Gty for the next couple of hours:

Calling Southwest--  no flights out of Milwaukee until Friday (Gty's parents were flying home on Thursday so...yeah, no.  Asking the SW person to "get creative" and figure out a way to get us home.  This phone call takes an hour, even more if you count the 40 minutes we were on hold to even get through to someone.  End result, we would have to drive down to Indianapolis for a flight the next morning at 7am. 

Fine.  As long as we get home on Wednesday.

Call Dollar Car Rental--  wanting to change reservation for car to just drop it down in Indianapolis rather than taking it back to Milwaukee.  We figured we'd have a $50 drop fee or something.  Again, no.  Dollar has no drop place in Indianapolis.  What??  Jerks.  Gty actually looks at the Greyhound website to see if that was a possibility.  My eyes well up at the thought.  Eventually we decide to drop our car at O'Hare (a $33 drop fee incurred), and get a new car from Budget.  This will be $200.  Again, jerks.  They take advantage of people who are desperate and booking last minute.   Although, with the weather the way it was and flights getting canceled we were lucky to get a car at all.

Now this Hyundai piece o' crap was to get us down to Indianapolis (a three hour drive) in the snow. We weren't gonna be happy until we were in our hotel room in Indy.

Call and cancel hotel, make new hotel reservations for down in Indy.

By this point it's 2pm.  We had slept in and missed the continental breakfast and had been eating hard candies we had stolen from the hotel's front desk all morning.  My mood was descending as fast as my blood sugar levels.  I needed food.   I didn't care what we ate as long as we ate in the next 10 minutes.  Gty had a hankering for Arby's.  Fine.  Let's go.  I looked it up on my phone and there was one 2 miles down the road.  Perfect.

We drive.  And drive.  I eventually figure out we had past the Arby's even though neither of us had seen it.  We turn around and I pay better attention this time.  As we come back around I see it.  Or what was left of it anyway.  It was boarded up and looked like it had been condemned.  Just piling on here.   We settled for Wendy's in our desperation and felt much better.  Do you know how long it had been since I'd eaten a cheeseburger and fries?  Well I ordered a double cheeseburger and fries and loved every bite.  And felt much better.

Now all plans of going downtown Chicago were thrown out the window.  No Sears Tower.  No John Hancock building.  No Blackhawks game.  We now just needed to get to O'Hare by 5pm and head down to Indianapolis.  And, if we could manage, say a few prayers that we wouldn't die on the icy highways in the meantime. 

(**Plz note: I was freezing and had been freezing since the second we landed in Milwaukee.  I never took my coat or scarf off.  Never.  Maybe once for a few minutes but that was it.  Freezing.  I hadn't realized how warm Denver was until I went to the Midwest in February.)

Now, here's where the story gets a little better.  Did you know that Gty went to Purdue to get his MBA?  Well, he did.  We lived in West Lafayette, IN from 1998-2000 and haven't been back since.  This little inconvenient rearrangement of our travel plans had now made a fun trip down memory lane possible.  West Lafayette is just off the freeway on the way down to Indy.  This was the perfect opportunity to stop by and drive around the ol' stomping grounds. 

We stopped and ate at our favorite restaurant there (Don Pablos):

We drove by our old apartment and took a pic:


Here is the back of our little two-story place:

We remembered how we used to close that back door to leave and Maggie would go tearing upstairs and crash into those blinds in the upstairs bedroom and stick her paw through them in order to watch us drive away.  We'd time her sometimes. Or we'd pretend to leave so she'd start running to the stairs and then quickly open the back door again just to confuse her.  Ah, animal mental torture is fun.  Or maybe the joke was on us because we'd never drive away without seeing her up in that window first, no matter how much of a hurry we were in.


We went by my old work building.  Some other company is in there now.  I don't know if you can tell, but it's a huge triangle/pyramid shaped thing.  Very cool looking.  It was a great job that I got by temping there and then they hired me on full-time.  It had great benefits which we needed while Gty was in school and I basically played Free Cell all day, sometimes did some data entry and kept the supply cabinet stocked with office supplies. Real high level stuff. 

We then drove down to campus and took a few pictures.

 They've added a bunch of new restaurants down by campus & built a couple new buildings since we were there.  It was 12 degrees and 10 o'clock at night so we didn't stay long.

Then on the way back to the freeway we happened by the hospital where the JBird was born.  
::single tear::

Our friends there were telling us a story about how when they first moved there she realized she was pregnant (and she had a 3 month old baby at the time) so she started asking around to people all nonchalant about where people had their babies there in Lafayette.  And everyone would say "Oh, just at home."  Or "I had my baby at home."  And she was freaking out thinking everyone birthed their babies in their master bedrooms with a rubber sheet or something.  But yeah, it's Home Hospital.  Hilar.

So we then moseyed on down to Indianapolis and found our hotel.  It was a nice Ramada for $50 so that's good.  Unfortunately, Indiana is one of those states where they don't change times with daylight savings.  So, simply driving from Chicago down to Indy cost us an extra hour.  We thought we got there at 11pm but no, it was midnight.  And we had a 7am flight.  Ugh.  We had to get up at 3am Denver time.

Needless to say, we didn't shower.  We woke up, pulled on some clothes and headed to the airport in plenty of time.  The last thing we wanted to do was miss our flight now.  I put "Indianapolis Airport" into the iPhone and we were on our way.  Our "Airport Ramada" was supposedly 3 miles from the airport so we weren't worried about it.  As we approached we saw no signs as to where we needed to drop the rental car.  As a matter of fact, there were no signs for what terminals were for what airlines...nothing.  Looked like a ghost town.  We drove around for a bit and then started getting nervous.  What was this place time forgot?  And plus, now we were pushing it for making our flight.  At this point we were just shaking our heads.  Could this trip get any worse????  

We decided to head back out to the highway and see if we could see any signs.  Luckily we noticed a sign with a little airplane on it fairly quickly and decided to see where it took us.  Apparently Indianapolis has a NEW freakin' airport!  What the?   Insane.  Luckily it was only 10 minutes up the freeway or so.  Also, luckily, the rental car drop place was right in the airport parking garage.   We would have had a major problem if we would have had to take a shuttle to the terminal or something.  We finally breathed a sigh of relief when we were sitting in our seats on the airplane and we were heading for take off. 

The flight home was uneventful and we even made it back a few hours before we would have had our original flight not been canceled from Milwaukee. 

Exhausted?  Me too.  Reliving this was difficult but I needed you to know my trials.  And, I need you to remind me of this if we ever have the big idea of taking a completely unnecessary trip to anywhere except Hawaii in the middle of winter.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Look who's accountable now!

It wasn't an easy road to get here.  But we made it.  The following is a conversation he & I had a few months ago.

ME: So, are you excited to be getting baptized in a few months?
TBone: Nah. I'm not getting baptized.
ME: Why not?
TBone: Cuz then I won't have to go to church anymore.
ME: You'll still have to go to church.
TBone:  ::thinking::  Fine.  I guess I'll get baptized then.

I know.  
A powerful conversion story.  
Feel free to use it in your next sacrament meeting talk.

But, I will say, as the event approached he became more and more enthused about the idea and by the time it arrived he was positively giddy about it.

Here's the program so you can read through it and pretend like you were there.
It was fun for him to get baptized with a couple of his buddies.  And it was fun for me to be able to plan it with a couple of mine.
Gratuitous photos.



Gty's parents flew in for the festivities.  It's always so fun to have them here.  Easiest house guests on the planet.  And so willing to do anything at anytime.

So, it's official now.  He's now a full-on member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He even has a certificate to prove it, if needs be, at a later date.  
The next day at church he leaned over during the sacrament and said "Now I really need to pay attention to this since I got baptized and everything."  

Ok, maybe the kid gets it after all. 

 It made his mother happy.