Monday, December 1, 2008


I can't really describe it in words, so I'll let the photos do the talking for me. These are just a very small sampling, but I really beleieve that we took advantage of every single second of our trip!
Me at the game wearing my lei from the University of Hawaii cheer squad!

Hanama Bay, where we went snorkeling. So fun!

Me on Waikiki beach.

The girls and I after dinner at Benihana.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I guess we're officially in November (cracks me up that I just now realized this, on the eighteenth!!) because I'm sick and busy and feel like I can't catch up. Don't take this as complaining, because I am starting to feel better, and busy is good, because it means productivity, and I am truly blessed for having a job that I love, even when I'm running around like a chicken with a sinus infection.

I just finished reading Tony Dungy's book, and it was fascinating! He's an incredible, good man, and it's great he was able to have this book published. It also gives you some insight into the NFL - very different from college athletics. I think it's understandable why players making that transition often have a hard time.

Got the Twilight movie coming out on Friday, so I'm looking forward to seeing it with my sister and Casey. It'll be us and 300 teeny-boppers, but I'm sure it will be a fun time. Like most girls who read these books, I found myself completely obsessed. I read about 2,000 pages in about 10 days. Yikes!

I'm also looking forward to Thanksgiving, because I am so thankful for everything and everyone in my life. We're having a "pre-Thanksgiving" next Monday in Spokane, since I'll be on a work trip over the real holiday. Very nice of my family to move their holiday for me. They're having other big meals on the real day, of course, but I will be here. :) Sweeeet. Yes, that building with the rainbow in it is our hotel. Ha!

The weather is really up-and-down right now, with 60 degrees and sun one day, and 40 degrees and rain/wind the next. But I guess that's Fall on the Palouse!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

More advice you didn't ask for - the ladies' edition!

* Wear the high heels.
* Men like it when you ask them to open jars.
* Lipstick is almost always a good idea.
* Never let a man watch you put on a pair of panty hose.
* Learn to type. You'll struggle through life if you hunt and peck. Besides, you can always be an administrative assistant if you lose your job.

Now here's where you can advise me - how do you keep from suffering Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) when it's 40 degrees and rainy (and windy and dark) and your job requires that you stand outside for six hours and watch a terrible football team every Saturday? :(

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Well, I was SO proud of myself last Friday because I raked up ALL the leaves in our front yard, put as many as I could into our yard waste bin, and put the rest in piles. Then, we left for the weekend to hang out in Spokane with the families, and to my dismay, came back on Sunday to this:
And as you can see, there are still PLENTY of leaves left on the trees. Luckily, I have a great husband who raked all these leaves up on Monday before I even got home from work! Whew.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Whoa, it's been a long time. I guess I've been busy at work, when I don't feel like I should be, mostly because we're doing so poorly in football, and because basketball hasn't started yet. I thought that going into this year, I would feel HUGE releif, and the job would be easier than last year.

On the contrary! I've been feeling much busier than last year, which I guess is partly due to my giving myself more work, in the name of "improving the program." Good for me. But enough about work.

Other things are much more interesting. Going to Spokane this weekend to see both sets of parents, who we haven't seen in quite a while. Going to watch the WORLD SERIES, where the Phillies won game one yesterday, and I am quite literally praying that they continue to win, for the sake of my husband's sanity.

Also going to Costco this weekend (I love Costco) and picking up leaves in the front yard for the 2nd time this year. The sad thing is that if you look at my trees, they don't look like they've lost any leaves. (sigh)

But I love fall! The apple cider is in the grocery store. My favorite!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Advice part 1 - the everyman.

You can never have too much good advice. There are some little tidbits below - some are kinda adapted from my mom, others are from websites and books I've read.

* When someone is drowning, don’t jump in after them. Find a branch.
* If you’re in a contest, you have to find a way to be different than everyone else.
* If you’re lost in the woods, follow a stream downstream and you’ll find houses.
* If you think something might need to be ironed, it probably does. Iron it.
* You can certainly have everything you want out of life. It just might not be all at the same time.
* It’s not what you make that makes you rich — it’s what you spend that makes you poor.
* Stand up for what you believe in until you are proven wrong. And if you are proven wrong, accept it gracefully.
* Expect to succeed. And expect to work for it.
* It’s easier to stay out of trouble than get out of trouble.
* You can’t please everyone. Some people will complain even if their ice cream is cold.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Goal #1: Stop watching so much TV, and invest my time in something more meaningful (like reading and learning to be a better cook)

Reality: I love TV. Pathetic as it may be, I look forward to some of my shows (CSI, The Office, Ugly Betty, Project Runway, Gilmore Girls reruns, Heroes). I think the realistic goal is to only watch the TV I really love, and to stop watching the junk (America's Next Top Model, The Hills, etc.). I can do that.

Goal #2: Improve my housekeeping skills. Specifically, to develop a weekly schedule: clean the whole bathroom, clean the floors, clean up the yard, and change the bedding, every week.

Reality: Hard as it may be to believe, I really have gotten better about this in the last few years. I'm especially good at getting my laundry done weekly. The truth is, I'm a happier, more relaxed person in a clean environment. So that is my motivation to complete this goal.

Goal #3: Update Jeremy's and my wardrobe. Since he lost so much weight, and all my work pants have "issues," like too short, or saggy crotch, or too big.

Reality: I'll probably just pick a few pieces here and there, since the stark reality is that I can't afford the full Banana Republic/JCrew wardrobe that both Jeremy and I would love. Here we come, Old Navy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Whoo-Hoo WaMu Friday

Washington Mutual went under yesterday, being bought out by JP Morgan Chase. I worked as a teller for WaMu for about a year and a half, and it was an okay job. It was job #2 of 4 in Pullman, and of the four, I can probably say it was the 2nd best job I had here, mostly because of the people. I love those WaMulians!

But as a result of my working there, all but one of Jeremy and my personal financial accounts are at WaMu, including checking, savings, mortgage, and a Roth-IRA. So it was a little scary when Jeremy shouted from the living room "WaMu collapsed!!" Of course we are protected, all our money is safe, and we are now JP Morgan Chase customers.

Long story short: I heart the FDIC.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The death of a theory

As you saw in my last post, I needed a hair cut in a dire way. My theory for the last couple of years is that "a haircut is a haircut, whether it costs $10 or $40."

So when I moved to Pullman, I tried Fantastic Sams (because that's where my mom always took us as kids). These places are usually franchised though, so you never really know what you're gonna get at your local "economical chain salon." I only went to the Pullman Fantastic Sams once, because I sat there the whole time thinking I was going to contract some horrible disease from dirty scissors.

The only other cheap-haircut option in Pullman is SuperCuts, which for the most part, has been pretty respectable. I never have to wait too long, and the ladies are always friendly. Plus, they sell great products and offer a "Buy 10, get 1 free" punchcard. I'd say I've been there about six times now (apparently I don't get my hair cut enough, since I've been here over four years) and have had about three good experiences.

The last two times, though, are enough to break my theory of cheap haircuts like a Michael Phelps swimming record. Every time I go, I try very hard to explain exactly what I want, and every time, I end up with something completely different. Both the ladies who've botched my hair have been very kind, and given me relatively cute haircuts. The problem is that these cute haircuts were definitely not what I asked for.

Yesterday I asked the girl to cut one inch off the longest layer of my hair, and to give my layers a very short trim, just to get rid of the dead ends. I ended up losing almost four inches of hair in some places, and I left there with a completely different shaped haircut than I wanted.

So I am officially in the market for a good hair stylist in the greater Moscow-Pullman metropolitan area - someone I can develop a relationship with, who will listen to me and actually understand what I'm asking for. I guess my days of the $10 haircut are over.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just a few things

I don't feel like I can form cohesive paragraphs today, so I'm doing bullets.

* Yesterday I did a back handspring at cheer practice. I was scared, but it went well and made me feel young.

* The weather is GORGEOUS. I don't remember the last time it was so warm in mid-September. I love it. I'm hoping it holds until Saturday (game day).

* I made it back safely from Texas (the storm came in about 90 minutes after we left).

* My brother-in-law is okay, but his apartment in Houston still doesn't have power.

* Today I appreciate my parents more than ever, the fact that they are healthy and happy, and close to me. I'm trying to help a friend through the sudden death of her mother, which is an emotional rollercoaster.

* I need a haircut (see photo).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I don't like Ike

Hurricane Ike is headed straight for Waco, Texas, where Jeremy and I are going tomorrow. They have moved our football game from Saturday afternoon to Friday night, in the hopes that we'll get it in before the storm hits.

That's good, except it means that in one day, we have to:
- Fly to Texas
- Prepare for a football game
- Play (cheer) a football game
- Fly back to Pullman

Ugh. I think tomorrow will be 6 a.m. to 4 a.m. I CAN DO IT!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Working with college students

I have a few observations from my year of working with college-age ladies and gentlemen. I hope this post doesn't come off as negatively sexist, but I KNOW that working with my guys and girls are two very different things.

Last year, since my cheer squad was not a stunting group, it was mostly ladies, with a few guys thrown in for good measure. The dance team (obviously) is all-female. This year, on the other hand, I have a huge group. In all, I'm working with 26 ladies and 17 guys. So it's a big group.

At cheer practice, twice a week, there are 12 guys and 12 girls. If I need to do some paperwork, or distribute something, or have a conversation with one athlete, it's interesting to see what happens to the rest of the group. The ladies will drop into something productive (usually) like stretching, or rehearsing dances. The guys, on the other hand, will completely lose it and start running around like monkeys. They usually end up trying to tumble (when they don't know how) or trying to jump up to try and reach the ceiling beams.

This is not to say the guys aren't hard-working. I know they give it their all at every practice, but the attention-span is just not there! Two minutes of down time and they are no longer focused on the task at hand. This is partly my fault as coach, not keeping them in line 100% of the time at practice, but I'm learning, and I think I'm getting better about keeping the whole group on task. I just can't help but acknowledge the stark difference between Monday practices (guys and girls) and Tuesday practices (ladies only). Oftentimes, we finish early on Tuesdays because the ladies are so much more on task that we accomplish everything more quickly.

All that being said, college cheerleading would not be what it is without men involved (as we established last year). This year has come with a whole new set of challenges for me, but I am truly loving every minute of it. I was nervous about having a whole team of guys, but I really appreciate them for their hard work, and what they contribute to our team - a sense of collegiate spirit and athleticism.

Also, the girls are terrible at running those huge flags! I'm glad to say that although our football team has looked far less than stellar for the last two weeks, the cheer squad and dance team have really stepped it up this year, deserving all the praise they've been receiving. Here's to my kids for working so hard and adding an entertainment value to games that are somewhat... lackluster. Go Cougs!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

When the organization slips

I can always tell how busy I am by the messiness of my desk at work. Here's how it looks today:

I used to be SO GOOD about making lists, checking off tasks, and keeping an organized workspace. And when things are less crazy, I'm still good at it. But this time of year, I tend to try to do a hundred things at once, which obviously isn't working for me.

So here's my promise to be better. I'm going to organize my desk NOW. Because I know I'll be less stressed/more calm the second I can see beyond the top of the pile. You should organize your desk too! Then we'll all feel better.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Just a photo day

Well, I'm so busy that my mind is too scattered to focus on one thing to write about. So instead I'll post some photos. (always a good idea)

Here is our house after it's cosmetic makeover. I love red and I think our house just looks precious. No more boring, drab, greyish white.
And here is Reggie the Adventurer. (a beagle just doesn't look like a beagle without a bandana, right?)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Because it's good for me

When I started this blog, you would not beleive the amount of crap I got. As Heather would say, "A Pacific Ocean of crap." But everyone who reads this knows about the crap I got, because you were (and still are) the ones giving it to me.

Well, whatever. I've enjoyed doing it, even if for no other reason than it's a way of documenting my life. My boring, take-the-amusement-where-I-can-get-it, life. Well, I'm proud to say that it's not just me who thinks blogging is therapeutic.

Maybe you all should give it a shot!! Think of it as writing your own life-column with no pressure from deadlines or advertisers.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Not much going on, except tomorrow I'm driving to and from Selah, WA (near Yakima) for work, which will be a very long day, and I'm considering doing this. Let me know what you all think.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Four Years

Today is Jeremy and my 4th Anniversary. That means we've been together NINE years. And I can honestly say I love that goof more than ever.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I love my job. Did you know, between Sept. and Jan., I will be visiting FOUR states that I've never visited before? And three of them are brought on by work travel? And not boring, shut-up in a conference room travel, but fun, CHARTER FLIGHT, exciting, go-with-the-flow travel?

Mm-hmm, that's right. You can all be jealous now.

In September, Jeremy and I are going with the Cougar Football team to Waco, Texas to play Baylor. It will be a quick trip, but super easy for me, because I'll just be getting on and off of busses and planes when I'm told. Oh, and did I mention that it's a chartered flight? My favorite parts (besides the DirectTV in every headrest) are the "get off the plane and straight onto the bus on the tarmac," and the "never wait in traffic because we have a police escort" parts!

October/early November will take me to L.A., Corvallis, San Jose, and Phoenix. I'm hoping I can send my dance team coach to one of the first three, because that's a lot of travel. But I've never been to Phoenix!

Then, over Thanksgiving weekend, I'm going to Honolulu, Hawaii with the team as well. The football game is on my birthday. So yes, I'll be spending my birthday in Hawaii. I guess the downside is that I'll spend Thanksgiving Day on a plane. Oh well, such sacrifices must be made. We'll be there for a full day on Friday, and I'm going to make the MOST of my one-day vacay in Hawaii. (Thursday and Sunday we're travelling, Saturday is the game)

In December, my whole side of the family is going to Nashville, Tennessee for my cousin's wedding.

Then, in January, I'm taking the Crimson Girls dance team to Orlando, Florida for the Universal Dance Association's Collegiate Nationals Competition. The competition is INSIDE Disneyworld Resort, and preliminaries are on the Indiana Jones outdoor stage.

Okay, I'm done bragging. I just feel incredibly blessed by my job - it has taken me some truly incredible places. (Last year: Wisconsin, Tucson, L.A. (twice), Seattle (twice), Eugene, San Jose (twice), Vegas, Denver, and Charlotte, N.C.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Who knew there was a jungle on the Palouse?

This is my back yard. Basically, it's 60+ years of overgrowth that I strive to retain, every week. After living in this house over two years, I have given up hope of ever really USING this back yard, mostly because it's on a very extreme slope and it would take a backhoe to get enough of the prickly shrubs (garden roses, holly, etc.) out of there for us to inhabit it.

Don't get me wrong. If someone had the financial means to actually get a backhoe down there, terrace the slope, and sod the lawn, this could be an extremely nice little area. But we don't have those financial means, and we don't have green thumbs. SO, I just do my best to keep the pathways clear and cut back enough so that when we go to sell the house, the buyers won't think it's TOO much of a hopeless jungle.

BUT the upside of having 60+ years of overgrowth means that I find real jems every now and then. For example, there's a plum tree back there! It grows those yummy little plums and they are ripening right now. Here are some other things I've found back there:



Sweet Pea

Pink/Red Roses

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Updated: USA Olympic Gymnastics Team

Well, this is a follow up to my post about our Olympic Gymnastics team. Here was the team I predicted:

Well, turns out, Jana Bieger is just an alternate. Here's the actual team:

So I was pretty close. This is the article on the team selected by Martha Karolyi.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Get Pumped Up

Go Cougs!

Product placement

This is for all of you who have dogs. Specifically, those who have big, strong dogs. Reggie is quite a chewer, and always has been, so usually I don't get him any plush squeaky toys. It usually takes him about 15 minutes to shred them and pull the stuffing out all over the house. But I also feel like a very mean and guilty mother because I am denying him that joy.

SO, I found a solution. Well, two solutions, actually. The first is a line of "Tuffie Toys" that you can find at Petco. These are really tough squeaky plush toys that are almost impossible to rip apart. Reggie has the cow.

The second is "Egg Babies." Basically this is for dogs who are obsessed about getting the squeaker out of their plush toys. Reggie's fish comes with five eggs that you stuff inside its pouch, and then he has to work to get them out. Then he feels like he has accomplished something, and I don't have to clean up the stuffing for a half hour, and the toy's not ruined!! It comes in other animals too, including an alligator, a turtle, or a hedgehog. I found it in Vancouver, B.C. and paid way too much for it. It's affordable on the website above.

Here's Reggie with the Fish. :) Mom and Corrie, there's the "new" living room rug that you haven't seen yet. Yes, I even vacuumed it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight

I absolutely loved Batman Begins (see here). So I was really excited about The Dark Knight, especially because the reviews were great and it was so critically acclaimed. I thought BB was a dark film, so I was surprised to see the Gotham world get even darker. I had heard a lot of Oscar buzz for Heath Ledger's Joker, which I attributed to a "pity nomination," because of his passing.

HOWEVER, after seeing his performance, I wouldn't be shocked if he was not only nominated, but won the Academy Award. Where Jack Nicholson's Joker was goofy and comic-booky, Ledger's Joker was the most horrifying, gruesome villain I've probably ever seen. brrohg! - gives me the creeps to just think about it!

The movie was great, maybe a little long (almost three hours), but they had to make it so in order to (minor spoiler) give both villains adequate screen time.

There's a great scene in Hong Kong, and the chase-sequences are fantastic. Aaron Eckhart plays a very strong Harvey Dent and I thought Maggie Gyllenhall was a much better Rachel than Katie Holmes. I give this one a very solid A-, and I think I only rated it so low because I had to look away in fright/horror a couple of times.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It isn't just a game.

Rick Reilly is one of the best sports writers in the business. He used to write the back-page column for Sports Illustrated, but has now moved to ESPN. I don't think it's a conincidence that when Reilly left SI, Jeremy and I cancelled our subscription. The following is one of Reilly's final columns for SI. We have it up on our fridge, but I wanted to share it here as well. I think it speaks true for those of us who truly have a love for sports. Enjoy!

It Isn't Just a Game
By Rick Reilly

When I was a sophomore in college, working on the town newspaper, a professor took me aside and said, "You need to get out of sports. You're better than sports."

I still get that crap. "So when are you going to graduate from sports and go write for Time?" strangers will say. "You know, do something important?"

I stamp my feet and hold my breath and insist that sports is important and worthy of my devotion. And they go, "Why?" And that's when I look at them like a poodle at a card trick. But now I'm ready with my answer.

I love sports because . . .

- It's about loyalty and passion and family. We love the Vikings because Grandma loved the Vikings, and nothing and nobody is going to make us switch. Sports isn't an escape from life - it's woven into the fabric of it.

- It leads to instant parades. How cool is that? Name anything else in life that galvanizes a city to pull off a parade involving 500,000 people with two days' planning? And then the guys in the parades do jigs in kilts.

- It's the best kind of reality TV. That's real blood. Those are real tears. There's no director hollering, "Cut! Effects!" I was covering the NBA once when Seattle's 7'2" Tom Burleson fell hard under the hoop. No foul. As he was running downcourt, hand to bleeding mouth, he suddenly whipped something that hit me in the chest and plopped onto my notepad. It was his tooth.

- It gives us a sense of place. Even if there isn't a single Indianapolis Colt from Indianapolis, the players live there, they eat there, they take out their trash there. They carry the flag for our town and our friends. And in the era of one-Starbucks-per-parking meter cities, sports gives us Wrigley, Fenway, and Lambeau. Remember that the next time they want to tear down your stadium and put up a damn Invesco Field.

- There's no back door in. If you're Aaron Spelling's daughter and you want to act, you get to act. If you're a Trump, you get to build. But nobody in sports makes it onto the field because he caught a lucky sperm. Jose and Ozzie Canseco were identical twins. Jose played 1,887 major league games. Ozzie played 24.

- And sports doesn't care how you did last month, either. If you're Derek Jeter and you stop hitting, it doesn't matter how many Visa commercials you've done, you're toast. And yet Flavor Flav still puts out CDs.

- It turns hardened people to mush. Truck drivers weep over it. Nurses are overcome. Tell me the last time the ballet did that.

- The No Way That Just Happened moment seems to happen every 20 minutes. Fifteen laterals to win at 00:00; 41-point 'dog whips No. 1; kid overcomes cancer to clinch World Series. The notion that anybody can become president is pretty much dead - but in sports, anybody can still grow up to beat Michigan.

- It encourages good, healthy hating. If I'm an Auburn fan, I can hate you, an Alabama fan, from the bottom of my hater, and it's alright. I can seethe about it and write blogs about it and boo about it without getting arrested or hit with a restraining order. Who knows where all that hate would go without sports?

- It's cheap. With HD, who needs tickets? We've all been the guy who spent a week's salary to go to the game and ended up wishing he was back on the couch eating queso dip with his buddies. (That's another thing: Without sports, would there even be queso dip?)

- It's black and white, there's no gray area. Every night there's a winner and there's a loser and nothing in between. There's no waiting to see the third-quarter fiscal report. It's open to zero interpretation. I've never been to a game yet where, at the end, the ref announced, "O.K., Cleveland won 14-13, but the Cleveland coach was blocking his deep-seated childhood need for validation. So, actually Buffalo is the winner." There's a score and it's fair and clean and easy to understand. Except for figure skating, of course.

- It's new all the time. A Rolling Stones concert is the same 80 nights in a row, but an Avalanche-Red Wings game is a new, epic novel every time.

- It gives us something safe to talk about at Thanksgiving without upsetting Aunt Harriet or causing Grandpa to storm off in a huff. It's not religion, politics, war, or money. Sports is a way in. One of the best emails I ever got was from a 25-year-old: "Thanks for writing what you did about the RedSox. It's the first time I've been able to talk to my dad in five years."

So bite me, professor. Thirty years later, I still don't think I'm better than sports. In fact, it's been the other way around the whole time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Operation weekend = Success

I actually accept the fact that today is Monday - embrace it, really, because my weekend felt like such a success. Friday I drove to Spokane to see if my dad's mechanic could save me some cash on a needed car repair. I had gotten two very high estimates here in Pullman. Turns out, making the trip saved me $500!! Praise God. A shout goes out to Manito Automotive (product placement).

Then, since I was already up there, I got to hang out with my sister at her pool and go to lunch at China Garden (I highly recommend it, especially since my brother-in-law works there and my sister used to!). Then, I drove home to Pullman and cleaned my house because we had a "Sushi and wine party." Jeremy slaved for hours making a TON of sushi and we gobbled it up in no time. So Friday was very eventful and fun.

Then, Saturday morning I went to the farmer's market in Moscow and got some amazing deals on produce (a bunch of carrots for 50 cents and two ears of corn for $1). Then I picked up my new dance coach, Erika, and we drove to Richland for Crimson Girls dance team bonding time! We spent 7 hours lounging by the pool and eating the food one that of the girls' dad kept barbecuing for us!

By Sunday after church I was exhausted and loafed around all day with Reggie (see below). Perfect!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I saw the trailer for Hancock way back in January and got really excited about it for two reasons:

1. It seemed like finally someone was making the movie about how unfulfilling it might feel to be a superhero, and how costly the damage could be to the city.

2. And with Will Smith on board, the previews looked hillarious, and I thought they had the potential to make a well-done "spoof" movie about a reluctant superhero.

It turns out that this movie is way more serious than it's preivews suggested, almost a character study of the Hancock character. I was a little disappointed, because I had been wanting this to be a comedy (there's some good laughs in the first 30 minutes) and got something completely different.

There have been plenty of bad reviews of Hancock, but I disagree. I liked the movie, even though it was not what I expected. Despite the negative reviews, Will Smith once again wins out with his 4th of July release date (see Men in Black 2, Independence Day, I-Robot, Bad Boys II) - Hancock has already made $104 million. I agree that he is probably the only truly bankable movie star alive today.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fourth of July weekend

I hope everyone had fun over the long weekend! Jeremy and I went to Coeur d'Alene Lake to my parents' float house, and lazed around until Sunday morning at 5 a.m., when we drove into town for Jeremy to compete in the 1st Annual Race The River Triathlon. He did a FANTASTIC job for his first triathlon. We were exhausted by the time we got home last night, but that was exactly what I would have asked for a holiday weekend. I've posted pictures below. More pictures available on Facebook. I think I'll spare my sister the embarrassment of posting the drunk video I took of her. Aren't I nice?
Corrie teaching Jeremy to play Cribbage.
Jeremy and me on the porch of the float house.
The men's transision area at Race the River.
Jeremy getting set up (5:45 a.m.).
Jeremy's start group - males 29 years and younger. (1/2 mile swim)
Starting the bike leg. (11 miles)
After the run portion (5k). Jeremy had a GREAT finish time! 1 hour, 18 minutes. He was 9th in his age group, and I'm very proud!

Monday, June 30, 2008


It was so hot in our house on Sunday (85 degrees) that Jeremy and I went to see a movie. I had been hearing such great things about Wanted that we saw a matinee, although it's not usually my type of movie. Admittedly, Angelina is an actor that Jeremy and I both enjoy! :)

I also like James McAvoy, (you might recognize him as Mr. Tumnus from The Chronicles of Narnia) but wasn't sure what I would think of him as an action star. Anyway, bottom line is that this was WAY bloodier than I'm comfortable with, and while the action scenes were cool, the best ones were in the previews anyway. It's got an unusual plot, which is probably why it's been getting rave reviews. Anyway, I was disappointed. This movie is violent and has a careless attitude about human life. For GOOD movies, see this post!

We should have gone to see WALL-E. :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ivy's Top 40 Movies of All Time (or at least my lifetime)

Note: This is not the “Best Movies of All Time,” just my favorites. I understand that this list will be a little girly for some of your tastes (Jeremy), but it’s VERY “me,” and it was really fun to put together. I decided not to go in reverse order, and just started with my favorite.

1. Pride and Prejudice (2005) – Elizabeth Bennett may be my favorite all-time literary heroine and Keira Knightley’s portrayal of her is stunning. Also the music and photography in this version are breathtaking.
2. Love Actually (2003) – There are certain aspects of this movie that I don’t care for, and if you’ve seen it, you probably know what I mean. (Nude stand-ins, negative portrayal of the USA) But that shows you how much I LOVE everything else about this flick. Hugh Grant as Prime Minister is genius, and there are so many kinds of love to watch: unrequited, compassionate, romantic, accidental, sweet, fatuous, unconditional. The movie makes me feel good.
3. When Harry Met Sally (1989) – I never saw this movie until about five years ago, but since then I watch it every time it’s on TV and I love it. I especially like the little love stories they splice into the movie – old people talking about how they fell in love.
4. The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) – Some movie series’ only got one spot on my list (see #20 and 27), but the LOTR movies are such great pieces of cinematography that they each get their own spot. FOTR is my favorite, because I think it has the most magic, and each individual actor makes his or her character glow.
5. Iron Man (2008) I wrote a review of this one here.
6. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – A high school boyfriend introduced me to this, and I find it old-fashioned and compelling. The camaraderie between characters is the best element besides the superb acting.
7. The Notebook (2005) – Nicholas Sparks writes incredible love stories, but this one was made into the best possible movie it could be. The casting was stellar. I dare you ladies to get through it without crying. Impossible.
8. Batman Begins (2005) – Oh, baby. That is how you do a Batman movie! Dark, not cheesy (like the 1997 Clooney flick), serious and realistic. I cannot wait for The Dark Knight in August. Yes! Oh, and did I mention Christian Bale? He has the acting ability, body, and voice for this part.
9. Where the Heart Is (2000) – Here’s a movie about a sweet girl in down-and-out circumstances who learns to pull herself up when the world isn’t fair. This is the first time I saw Natalie Portman, and I think she’s great.
10. Independence Day (1996) – I know it’s dorky, but this movie makes me feel wildly patriotic. Bill Pullman’s rallying speech is quintessential: “We will not go quietly into the night! We will not give up without a fight! Today we celebrate our INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!”
11. Apollo 13 (1995) – “Houston, we have a problem.” Tremendously acted and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
12. The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King (2003) – Despite that this film has a spoiler in the title, this is a beautiful movie. I thought their five separate endings were a bit much, but it’s a great way to wrap up something so epic as this story.
13. Pride and Prejudice (1995) – P & P is on my list twice because it’s probably my favorite story ever. This version is really long (5+ hours) but it’s worth it because Colin Firth’s version of Mr. Darcy is very noteworthy. I also like the length of this film because they can tell the whole story, as opposed to the 2005 version, which cut huge chunks out.
14. Spiderman (2002) – I obviously like superhero movies (see #s 5, 8, 14, 16, 21, and 31). Spiderman was one of the first good ones, mostly because of their casting Tobey Maguire. It worked because he’s a perfect Peter Parker, and he’s a strong enough actor to be Spiderman as well. Other perfectly-cast actors include Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, and Willem Dafoe.
15. X-Men (2000) – Another great superhero flick. More good casting and the ability to tone the comic book characters down just enough to make them believable. A fantastic, fun summer movie.
16. Signs (2002) – My favorite of M. Night Shaymalan (I liked Sixth Sense, too). This movie is genius because you never actually see what you’re afraid of – just glimpses. That’s why he’s so good at suspense films. And he always wraps it up in a way you wouldn’t expect, and “fate” gets involved (water, asthma, etc.).
17. Armageddon (1998) – I guess if the world is about to be destroyed, I want either Will Smith or Bruce Willis to be there to save the day. There’s a scene in this movie where Liv says goodbye to her dad and puts her hand on a TV screen that’s just gone blank and oh, that’s all it takes. I’m done.
18. Juno (2007) – I wrote a review of this one, here.
19. The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers (2002) – Not bad for a “connector” movie. I’m usually not into battle scenes, but the Helm’s Deep sequence is amazing, and Gandalf’s triumphant return makes me pretty emotional.
20. Harry Potter (1 through 5) (2001-2007) - Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge HP fanatic. I think as a whole, these movies will be an amazing collection to own. I really liked what they did with movies 1, 3, and 5. Movie 2 is my least favorite (and my least favorite of the books), but I was really disappointed with what they did with movie 4. Goblet of Fire is probably my favorite HP book in the series, and they could have done SO MUCH with the movie, but they took the easy way out and made it so-so. I do love to watch these, though, as my husband will confirm.
21. X2 (2003) – I’m not sure what happened when they made X-Men The Last Stand, which should have been the best in the series, but it didn’t capture the magic that 1 and 2 did. X2 is an example of how you do a sequel - you take the formula from the first movie and make it bigger and funnier. This movie accomplished that.
22. The Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian (2008) – I reviewed this movie here.
23. The American President (1995) – The winner in the Underrated Movie category, I don’t think this gets the credit it deserves. This was a great movie, with fantastic acting (Annette Benning, Michael Douglas, Michael J. Fox, Martin Sheen)!! Written by the guy who went on to do The West Wing.
24. Titanic (1997) – I know, I know. I guess I’ve got a soft spot for this one. I remember being 16 and bawling in the theater. I just love that the captain goes down with his ship, and NOBODY ends up with that stupid diamond. Perfect.
25. The Truman Show (1998) – One of the few times I’ve really liked Jim Carrey. You feel so bad for the guy, and get to root for him the whole way through. And Ed Harris plays the perfect relatable director. Part of you thinks he’s a twisted weirdo, but you see that he really cares for Truman. Good acting!
26. Forrest Gump (1994) – Sentimental and triumphant, with glorious acting. Made me laugh and cry.
27. Ocean’s (11, 12, 13) (2001-2007) – Some people would balk that I have these films on my list, but I mostly love them because of their actors (George, Brad, Matt, Julia). I also love that they are “smart” movies, in that you don’t understand the plot until the end, and you could have never come up with their plan. The comedic timing is great, I love that Brad Pitt is constantly eating, and I love that you’re rooting for criminals.
28. The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) – The weaker of the two, but still great. I liked that this film set the stage for movies to come. The Narnia they created is breathtaking and better even than C.S. Lewis described in the books; not an easy task.
29. Crash (2005) – One of the most heartbreaking, intriguing, meaningful movies I’ve ever seen. And the cast is star-studded and brilliant. This movie is so real it’s almost hard to watch, and it has stuck with me like crazy.
30. Office Space (1999) – This is a classic of my generation. Everyone I know can quote this movie and does it way too much. For example: “I believe you have my stapler.” or “Yeah, um, I’m gonna need you to come in on Saturday… Great. Mmmkay then.”
31. The Incredibles (2004) – I like a lot of these Disney/Pixar creations (Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., Cars) but The Incredibles is definitely my favorite. I find it funny and entertaining and I would watch it with my kids in a second. What I like about Pixar is that it’s not just the animation that’s outstanding. They write interesting, imaginative plots as well.
32. Men in Black (1997) – This movie is pure fun. The sequel was terrible and this movie is no genius, but if you’re looking for a comedy/action flick, you don’t do it much better than this!
33. The Bourne (Identity, Supremecy, Ultimatum) (2002-2007) A role and genre that really works for Matt Damon, which is why they keep making the same movie over and over. I hear there’s a fourth on the way. Great. I’ll go spend $9 to see these movies recreated (again). I don’t think any of the other actors or the plotlines are great, which is why we’re down at #33.
34. Pretty Woman (1990) – I love Richard Gere, and I’m not sure how I couldn’t love this movie. It’s just another Cinderalla story, but something about the way it’s done, with Julia Roberts and those “fabulous” clothes. Maybe I just love Julia – she’s on my list 5 times.
35. Life as a House (2001) – The movie that tricked me into thinking Hayden Christiansen could act. Turns out not so much, but he is incredible in this film. A serious tear-jerker, but courageous and heartfelt.
36. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – Not sure what to say about E.T., other than it was cinematically groundbreaking, magical, and family-friendly. A pivotal point in movie history.
37. The Little Mermaid (1989) – In my mind, this is a classic. I idolized Ariel when I was growing up, wanted to be one of her sisters, and danced around in my living room to the soundtrack. I still have it memorized. “I wanna be…where the people are. I wanna see…wanna see ‘em dancin’!”
38. A Few Good Men (1992) – Demi and Tom have a great chemistry in this movie, and Jack, ooh Jack. So creepy, such FANTASTIC acting! As you can tell, I like “smart” movies. See numbers 28, 30, 33, 38, and 39.
39. Magnolia (1999) – Tom Cruise makes three appearances on my list, and they are #38, 39, and 40, so I guess you could say that these movies made the list in spite of Tom being in them. Magnolia is a little creepy, but I love the intertwining plot lines and detailed characters (see Love Actually, #2).
40. Top Gun (1986) – I was five when this movie came out, so when I saw it, I was in high school and it was already a “classic.” I love it though! It has the perfect balance of romance, drama, and action. Great.

Almost made the list: Shall We Dance, Notting Hill, Erin Brockovich, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Seven, Center Stage, Newsies, A Little Princess, Aladdin, Traffic, Ghost, The Sound of Music, School of Rock.
Actors who appear often on my list: Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks, Kiera Knightley, Sandra Bullock, Natalie Portman, Morgan Freeman, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Liv Tyler, Bruce Willis.