Sunday, October 28, 2007

What knockers!...

So, one of the greatest things to ever happen to theatre will make its debut tomorrow: Young Frankenstein! One of the best movies of all time ... sure to become one of the greatest theatrical performances!

There are three main reasons this show is sure to be a success:

1) Megan Mullally -- you probably know her best from her role on Will & Grace as Karen, Grace's obnoxious secretary. On Broadway, she was amazing as Rosemary in the fantastic show "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

She will star as Elizabeth, the role originated by the legendary Madeline Kahn. I can't think of a better fit.

2) Roger Bart -- he had a role as Bree's love interest on Desperate Housewives, but was, by far, the memorable in the remake of "The Producers" as Carmen Ghia, the personal assistant and lover of director Roger Dupree. (Bart on left) He will star as Frederick Frankenstein (Froderick Fraankentein).

3) Susan Stroman -- director and choreographer of the remake of "The Producers." She hit it out of the park with that one. No doubt, she will do it again.

So, anyone up for a trip to NYC??

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A nice ego trip...

Here's a great quote I lifted from my history book, The Media in America: A History. The speaker of the quote is talking about journalism schools, and whether there was any way to train a journalist in the Wild West.
Journalism "a profession requiring the same information possessed by the Almighty and a willingness to work for less." -- Edgar Wilson "Bill" Nye

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Is that a leg?...

Just wanted to update everyone on my pregnant Aunt Valerie's condition.

She and her husband, Mark, went in for the first sonogram today. According to the doctor, the baby and mom are healthy as can be. The baby appears to have two legs and arms.

No news on the sex of the child, although I don't think there will be until the baby is born, as Val and Mark do not want to know. Although, based on a dream I had, I do have a guess... I promised Val I would keep it to myself, though!

As for Val, her iron levels are normal, and everything looks good. She has been fortunate enough not to suffer from any morning sickness (knock on wood), and says she feels completely normal. She and Mark were, of course, thrilled to hear a strong heartbeat on the baby for the very first time today.

One interesting piece of information: Apparently, because Val's blood type is O negative, she will need to receive a special shot in the coming months. If the baby's blood type is anything but O negative, the mixture of the two blood types could harm the baby. Nothing to be alarmed about. I just thought it was interesting.

On an unrelated note, fall is rapidly descending upon us here in Anniston. Today, it was a chilly 56 degrees. The temperatures are not supposed to climb above 70 in the foreseeable future, and the lows at night are expected to be in the upper-40s. Hooray!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Welcome to Anniston (part 2)...

So, the rest of Friday was spent playing Frisbee in the backyard with puppies and children. We managed to pass the Frisbee back and forth 30 times before dropping it!

Then, we enjoyed some down-time, watching movies in our PJs, playing with puppies, and eating lasagna rolls!

(Look, matching noses!)

Saturday, we went to Mount Cheha to enjoy the beautiful leaves that are finally beginning to change.

We brought the puppies, and they enjoyed jumping over the rocks and playing in the dirt!

Jeremy and Nathaniel hiked up the stairs to the highest point in Alabama for a view from the top of the tower.

At the end of the evening, we enjoyed a frustrating bowling game. Despite Nathaniel's look of angst, he kicked our butts!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Set your faces to awww...

And now, a crowd pleaser: Puppy pictures!!!

Welcome to Anniston (part 1)...

My mom, brother and sister came to Anniston for a visit this weekend, and we had a fun-filled visit. Surprisingly, we were able to find enough activities to occupy us all in this area.

After lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Frontera, we took a drive around town, and wound up at Anniston's own winery, White Oak Vineyard. The winery is privately owned, and the wine is absolutely delicious. Plus, the scenery is wonderful!

After a tour of the very uninteresting town of Heflin, we found an overlook near our house in the national wildlife refuge.

Nathaniel was able to run around and get dirty...

Julianne found some pretty leaves...

And, we managed not to get blown up!

Next, we went to the Anniston Natural History Museum to see "A T-Rex Named Sue."

We amused ourselves by growling like lions...

Running from bears...

And, from elephants (sorry, no tigers).

All told, we had a great time.

Mom has pictures of the rest of our adventures. I will continue this story when she recovers from the 10-hour drive, and posts her pictures!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A glimpse at Anniston schools...

Parental involvement is awful in Anniston's schools. All are failing, and people are fleeing the district.

Still, there are glimmers of hope. Here is a brief story I wrote after attending a parent-student breakfast at Anniston Middle School at 7 a.m. today. (Yuck!)

There would be photos, but my camera malfunctioned, so, sadly, I got nothing!

* A side-note: Only 45% of parents attended mandatory parent-teacher conferences at Anniston Middle in February. Far fewer actually volunteer in the schools.

Anna Delgadillo struggles to communicate in English. Her son, 12-year-old Ramon, often speaks for her.

But one thing that needs no translation is Delgadillo’s love and concern for her Anniston Middle School sixth-grader.

Although the Spanish-speaker has difficulty making herself understood, she knows the value of parental involvement. It’s why she and Ramon dined with about 50 others Thursday, at 7 a.m., at Anniston Middle’s mother-student breakfast.

“I want to start knowing people, and getting to know the school better,” Ramon translates for his mother. “I want to have more interest in (Ramon’s) education.”

Their mix of ages, races and backgrounds may have been diverse, but parents’ reasons for attending breakfast at Anniston Middle strung together a common bond.

“I never really got the chance to come visit the school before, so I took this opportunity,” said Shamica Bradford, mom to seventh-grader Alexis, 12.

“You hear a lot of stuff about Anniston Middle School, so it was important for me to come and visit to see for myself.”

Bradford’s verdict: “So far, so good.”

Organizers began the breakfast with a prayer, asking for a better year at the middle school. School officials have labored to improve the students’ grades and increase parental involvement in recent years, to no avail.

Maybe this year will be different.

“Mothers are the backbone of the family,” Anniston Middle Principal Lynwood Hawkins told attendees Thursday. “You never know the heights your child can reach.

“I ask you to please stay involved with your children, and help them to succeed.”

At the end of the meal, students gave their parents reasons to keep coming back to the school. About a dozen volunteers rose to tell attendees what their mothers mean to them.

“I love my mom, because she keeps a roof over my head, and clothes on my back,” said sixth-grader Dominique Thomas, 11.

Ramon, smiling at his mother, was among the first to volunteer. He kept his words about his mother simple, so she could understand them.

“She’s always there for me when I need her.”

Monday, October 15, 2007


Jeremy and I spent the weekend in Savannah, Ga., with our great friends, Larry and Deirdre. Here's a fun recap:

We began the night peacefully at Bernie's, where the enchanting sounds of kareoke magic pulled us in.

Soon, we couldn't help but join in the fun. Larry brought down the house with a horrible rendition of "I Wanna Come Over," by Melissa Etheridge. And by horrible, I mean FANTASTIC!

On Friday, we spent the afternoon walking and riding around town. We enjoyed a yummy lunch at Huey's on the Riverfront, and then went on a trolley tour. And, of course, a little more drinkin'!!

Next, we went on a haunted pub crawl. As you can see, the spirits were with us!

(OK, maybe the guy taking the picture was smoking... Who knows?)

Some of us handle our booze and ghosts better than others...

On Saturday, we had WAY too much fun at the Jepson Museum downtown. I was enthralled by the work of Philip Morsberger, an artist whose display of works representing the 1960s were incredible, particularly this one:

Hey, Let's Have Some Red Man! Depicting the trial of the Mississippi sheriff laughing at charges of violating the civil rights of three men murdered by the Klu Klux Klan.

We also had fun in the interactive part of the museum:

That night, we enjoyed our last evening in Savannah at the Moon River Pub, sampling their fine micro brews.

We ended our weekend with a wonderful picnic in Forsythe Park, complete with fried chicken and mashed potatoes from Paula Dean's restaurant, Lady & Sons. All told, it was a fantastic weekend, filled with great food, great friends, and incredible sites.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

You CAN go home again...

For most of my young life, I struggled to define my location as "home." I feared calling Raleigh, N.C., my home, because so much of me was still in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and vice versa. Plus, with parents who both regarded me as part of their homes, how could I possibly choose?

It wasn't until I went to work at Disney World that I discovered the home I had been looking for had been right under my nose for nearly four years. When asked to give our hometown (so it could be printed on our nametags), the answer came without hesitation: Boone, N.C.

I spent four years (and one very warm summer) at Appalachian State University, from 1998-2002. It was, without question, the best time of my life. At Appalachian, I found a home, because I was constantly surrounded by friends who were closer than sisters. My residence hall buddies literally became my family, and, as a result of my devotion to them and my school, I became active in just about every on-campus leadership organization: the newspaper, radio station, campus resident association executive board, student government, and so on.

Appalachian and my family there became my passion, and I owe all of my current success, both professional and personal, to the lessons I learned and opportunities afforded me there.

It is that passion that made my trip back home for Homecoming this past weekend so sweet.

Jeremy and I spent Friday catching up with old friends at the Daniel Boone Inn, where you stuff yourself sick on fried Southern food, served family style. As if our bellies weren't full enough, we carried the party over to a new bar, called The Library (cleverly named so any charges on your credit card will look to your parents as though you were buying things at the school library).

We enjoyed dangerous 3-foot tall beers (including one skunky one chosen by my husband!), and stumbled back to the hotel around 1 a.m. Word to the wise, avoid any beer with the word "Mountain" in the title that is made in Winston Salem!

Saturday, our friends and I attended the Homecoming football game, but not before hitting my favorite restaurant, The Black Cat. It is a cool little whole in the wall that serves delicious chicken nachos!

We also made our rounds at the various stores, and marvelled about how much the campus has changed.

Then, it was onto the game, where Appalachian (in true champion form) beat Gardner Webb 45-7. Ouch!

At the end of the evening, we enjoyed a nice dinner at Outback, catching up on old times, and enjoying new ones. I miss everyone already! I can't wait to go back next year! (Please, Jeremy...!!!)

Another word to the wise, when applying fake tatoos to your face, always remember to apply sunscreen as well. I'm still sporting the vague outline of an "A" on my right cheek!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Rubbing elbows (and lobster claws)...

Last week my classmates and I got the opportunity to meet two highly respected authors in our field of study, journalism.

Rick Bragg, a former New York Times feature writer and author of the memoir, All Over But the Shoutin', took us out to lunch at a fish house in Birmingham. Mr. Bragg is now a professor at the University of Alabama. He is originally from Anniston, and he filled Jeremy in on the ins and outs here in town.

Mr. Bragg brought with him his friend, reknowned author and former New York Times editor Bill Kovach. We talked with Mr. Kovach about his book, The Elements of Journalism, in which he and a partner lay out the principles good journalists should follow during their careers.

(From left) Jeremy, Anne Anderson, Emily Amick, Bill Kovach, Sandra Martinez, Rick Bragg, Andrea Young, me, Cassandra Mickens, and Christina Smith.

This program is great, because no where else could we get the opportunity to pick the top minds in our field, face-to-face. Hopefully, when this program is complete, we will have made a great number of contacts, and will have a wealth of experience to take with us into the field.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Maybe with some chili, too...

More puppy pictures, since they seem to be a big hit!

(Let me know when you get sick of seeing Nacho pictures! I won't stop posting them, but I'll note your angst!)

A sleepy little Nacho (or, as we like to call him, Country Bear!).

Up close and personal with Oscar!

Some cutie pies actually behaving (for once!).