Country Music Award Time!!!

Posted in music on November 11th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s time for the CMAs, and I’m making just a quick little post to share my guesses –  we’ll see how I do at the end of the night.  I know, I know I whined and cried about missing the show this year, but my family came down with H1N1 and we’re under a self-imposed quarantine.  I think the kids need to get to bed early – for their health, of course 😉 –  and I get to watch the show live after all!  Believe me, I would so much rather be at youth group tonight, despite all my whining, I swear!  This is an awful sickness, and I would so much rather not have anyone in my family have to have it…  but I don’t want to dwell on that now –  we’ve been living this illness since Friday night, so it’s time to break from that now a little bit –  CMA time!!!!!

My picks – I’ll try to update throughout the night to see how I did.  Correct in green, wrong in red.

TOTAL:  4/11

Entertainer of the Year:
Taylor Swift
, winner
Kenny Chesney

Female Vocalist:
Taylor Swift
, winner
Carrie Underwood

Male Vocalist:
Brad Paisley

Vocal Duo:
Sugarland
, winner
Brooks and Dunn

Vocal Group:
Lady Antebellum, winner

Rascal Flatts

New Artist:
Darius Rucker, winner

Jake Owen

Album:
Taylor Swift’s Fearless

Single:
I Run To You – Lady Antebellum

Song:
In Color – Jamey Johnson, winner

I Told You So – Randy Travis

Event:
Start a Band

I Told You So

Music Video:
Taylor Swift

NOTES:  Awesome show so far –  great performances, and I love the hosting duo of Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.  Their little duets are entertaining, funny, and even pleasant music to listen to!  I especially  appreciate the ditty about the swine flu – priceless, and it really hits home right now!  Carrie Underwood has an amazing voice!  Thank you American Idol for gifting her to country music!
I love the infusion of the classic country: Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys and especially the Zac Brown Band’s rendition of Devil Went Down to Georgia (on speed!) was EXCELLENT!!
Brooks and Dunn’s final CMA performance (retiring) with ZZ Top is a highlight!
Still enjoying the show, but what the heck happened to the awesome hosting duo of Paisley and Underwood?  Seems like they haven’t been onstage together for a while.  And when they do reappear together, let’s can the jokes about Brad checking out Carrie’s looks behind the back of his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley – there’s just been too many of those jokes, and they’re stale.

What could be better than Martina McBride singing When Country Wasn’t Cool with Charlie McCoy on harmonica as a tribute to Barbara Mandrell to welcome her into the Country Music Hall of Fame?!?  That was GREAT!  That reminds me of an addition I must make to a fellow tangents.org blog about my favorite Christmas special – The Mandrell Sisters Christmas!
Oh man…  the show started out the best CMA awards show EVER!  But then it slowly went downhill…  until the final award – Taylor Swift?!?  You’ve got to be kidding.  She is very talented and has done a wonder for attracting teen and tween girls to the country music genre, but…  What about the rest of us!?!  Let’s face it, she did have a heck of a time hitting some of those high notes…  Well, I’m not going to act like Kanye West.  Taylor Swift deserves her time in the spotlight, even if it did ruin the entire flow of the CMAs…

Oh, and judging by my total guesses correct, it’s obvious how much I’m allowed to listen to country music radio these days…  For me, it’s mostly KidsSongs and videos from the library (lately Shelley Duvall’s Fairy Tale Theater) in the car.  Whatever – no one could have seen that Taylor Swift Entertainer of the Year coming no matter what you spend your day listening to.  I don’t care if she IS the youngest CMA nominee for Entertainer of the Year ever – in my opinion, she should have had a lot more ground to cover before she won an award like that!  The show started out great, but I have to say, I am left disappointed, and not only by my terrible score 🙁

IT Is HERE

Posted in Everyday Life on November 8th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

It’s official – there is a flu wreaking havoc in our house.  I don’t know if it’s H1N1, but all the signs are there.  Our middle-schooler came down with it Friday night, and she’s been in bed ever since.  She had to miss a birthday party and church this weekend, and she won’t be going to school tomorrow.  Today our 5-year-old and 1-year-old starting showing symptoms, and tonight our 3-year-old looks like she might be starting to get it.  And oh yeah – why would you think this one skipped Hubby, who  gets EVERYTHING that comes around?  Looks like it’s making an appearance in him tonight.  As usual, (except for the flu season when I was pregnant and was sick from Thanksgiving until Christmas – one bug after another) I remain the last one standing, as yet untouched by the virus (crossing fingers, knocking wood…)

So up goes this post, and down goes our family – I think a flu outbreak is a good reason to go to bed at 10, don’t you?  Here’s hoping and praying that it doesn’t hit us too hard and also that I  may stay well enough to care for my family.  We are going to have to quarantine ourselves this week, which is a shame since we had plans for every single night.  Tomorrow will see a slew of phone calls made and emails sent to cancel everything.  Health comes first, of course.
Best wishes to readers for staying healthy!!!

Outbreak

Posted in Everyday Life, Travel on October 25th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The flu season is upon us, and it’s obvious.  In our family, we are teetering between two outbreaks of illness.  Last week, it was hand, foot, and mouth disease (not to be confused with its fear-provoking counterpart, foot and mouth disease, which is only found in animals).  The kids had little bumps on their hands, and a general feeling of being unwell, known as malaise as I learned on the internet.  This is an extremely common (in children anyway) viral illness that usually runs its course in most kids.  When my mouth erupted in sores last week (it’s like having 10-20 large canker sores at the same time), I was shocked because it’s supposed to be very rare in adults.  We contacted 3 different health professionals to make sure that our trip to Illinois could go on as scheduled, and they all assured us that if there was no fever, we were not contagious.  We ventured across the state of Indiana, and I don’t know if I was more fearful of what we were bringing with us or what we were going to take home, what with the many recent flus reported in Illinois and elsewhere, H1N1 and otherwise.

More on the really great parts of the trip in the next blog post – I need to get this out of my system so to speak, haha – a sick post and a fun post.  So for the sick part…

My husband woke up today feeling awful – the flu.  My morning started pretty much like the past 2 or 3 mornings now  – tremendous pain in my mouth, worse than the day before.  One of my favorite things about visiting the Chicago area is the food – despite the city’s drawbacks: the aggravating traffic, the inflated prices, CROWDS; Chicagoans do have a talent for their intolerance of crappy Sysco food – ie, Chicago food is fantastic!  Last week, anticipating our upcoming trip, I remember thinking that it was only Wednesday, surely my mouth would heal by Friday so I could indulge in some of my favorite Chicago treats.  But alas, Thursday’s pain was worse than Wednesday’s, and Friday’s was worse than Thursday’s.  Actually, as I said before, it’s gotten worse every day since it started.  Somehow, I was miraculously able to enjoy my Italian beef sandwich Friday night, but pain-wise things just went downhill from there.  We had a wonderful  breakfast at the Uptown Cafe in Arlington Heights, quite possibly the best breakfast restaurant in the country.  They have the best eggs benedict I’ve ever had, but unfortunately I came very close to sinfully wasting my eggs benedict when I  could not eat them (let alone carry on a conversation with relatives) without my eyes watering from  the pain in my mouth.  My little boy saved me from wasting half my order ( I knew I should have gotten soup or at least a half order of eggs benedict, but I literally could not resist – we get to this place less than once a year!) – but my toddler ate half my eggs benedict – he is his father’s son!

The weekend ended with my sister making us wonderful homemade lasagna, of which I had about 5 small very painful bites.  I did not try any of the appetizers, the steamed vegetables, the salad, the garlic bread, or any of the desserts 🙁
I also did not get my usual crave case of White Castle cheeseburgers to bring back to Ohio, although generous relatives supplied us with some Chicago beef for sandwiches, homemade soup and Grammy’s out-of-this-world homemade spaghetti sauce, all frozen and ready to be thawed as soon  as I’m better!  Talk about something to look forward to!!!

We ventured home at 2 am this morning, and arrived safely, however painful (and tiresome for my husband) the ride home.  And a special thank you to Officer Friendly of the Ohio State Patrol, who did not issue even a warning for my husband’s “hovering around 60 in a 55.”  I’m glad he seemed to take the 4 sleeping kids and the grumpy wife in the passenger seat into consideration – this police stop was completed very quickly and only blocks from our house.

This morning I awoke in a lot of pain, and it’s gotten worse throughout the day.  I think if it continues its trend and gets even worse tomorrow, I’m going to have my husband call the doctor to make an appointment.  I am so thankful that my kids seem to be over it, and as horrible as it’s been for me, I’m still happy I got the most of it in the family.  I  pray for my husband, and I’m really nervous about swine flu, but he seems to be feeling better, unless he’s just putting on a braver face than I.  This illness for me has been characterized by bouts of severe pain sandwiched between constant regular pain.  In the past hour, twice that I’ve talked brought on  the most severe bouts of pain and was enough to make me start typing on the computer and making my husband read it in order to communicate.  Whatever works, it’s amazing how easily the threat of tremendous pain can train a person to keep her mouth closed (like Pavlov’s dog).  My husband joked that it’s the “shut-up disease”.  That brought a smile; it doesn’t hurt to smile – just the talking, eating, drinking, and sleeping.  And that reminds me, being in constant pain has made me an insomniac.  I couldn’t sleep in Illinois at our hotel and ended up listening to an hour-long Larry King interview with Suzanne Somers – even that did not put me to sleep.  Did you know that Suzanne Somers never actually had cancer even though 4 different doctors told her to get her affairs in order because they had mis-diagnosed her?  That’s a tangent that doesn’t need to be taken…

Well, anyway, that’s enough from me for now.  Sorry about the rambling, but this really sucks, and typing is my voice right now.  Hubby is watching the Bears game, so it’d just be rude of me to constantly interrupt by making him read my ramblings.  I wish I could take care of my husband while he’s sick, but for now we’re helping each other.  Let’s really hope this gets better – if I have to go to the doctor, I can’t tell them what’s wrong with me because I can’t talk, and I don’t really want to bring my family with me to the doctor’s – who knows what else we could get?!?  I guess I’d have to write a note, but I feel kind of silly…

A real Halloween horror treat tonight would be for us to watch the movie Outbreak –  now that’s just TOO scary!!!

At least we have a good part of a week to whip these things and get ready for fun Halloween activities abound next weekend!  Super-fun blog post about the awesome parts of the  Illinois trip – including haunted house ratings! –  to follow this depressing post, I promise!

My Thanksgiving Curse :)

Posted in holidays on November 30th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I think I was somehow cursed last Thanksgiving.  I fell ill the day after Thanksgiving, and just as I was starting to feel better a few days later, I felt another virus coming on.  This cycle continued until just before Christmas, and because I was pregnant and exhausted, I tried to rest a lot and get well during that time, but it was stressful because I had a 1½-year-old to chase after.  And while I was sick, I was unable to eat any Thanksgiving leftovers.  So then all during the year, foods like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and even creamed onions (which I used to love) just haven’t seemed very appealing to me.  I think I subconsciously associate the Thanksgiving fare with being sick, but I thought I’d be over it by now – wrong.  Thanksgiving dinner was great and everything, but I’m just not as enthused about those leftovers as I want to be.  On Thanksgiving day, the turkey was delicious.  That leftover sandwich I had on Friday was pretty good.  The cold turkey snack on Friday night was ok.  I didn’t finish the turkey snack on Saturday night, and today for dinner, I will have anything but turkey or Thanksgiving leftovers.  And I am blue in the face from reassuring my husband that it was absolutely nothing he did wrong with the cooking or the fault of any of the guests who brought delicious side dishes.  It’s just my Thanksgiving curse, and I hope it’s gone by next year.  But even if it’s not, no biggie because my Thanksgiving will be made more special than food by the wonderful people in my life.  Maybe I should “train” my body to accept the Thanksgiving food by making turkey and creamed onions more often…

At any rate, the helpers in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day were adorable – check them out:

And below are my two oldest daughters waving to Santa at the Welcome Santa Parade from the day after Thanksgiving:

And if their names were numbers that ordered them by birth, below is a cute picture of #2 and #4:

I am Legend

Posted in Movies on April 5th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I betcha you’re thinking, wow, she thinks highly of herself…  I am Legend, geez…  but no, I was just realizing how it’s been a REALLY long time since I’ve reviewed a movie!  Part of it is because we aren’t watching nearly as many, just been pretty busy lately.  With the time change, it stays light out until 8, so we like to take family walks after dinner.  By the time the kids get settled after that though, there hasn’t been any time for movies, so we’ve been watching old episodes of The Office instead…  not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s been fun, but I just haven’t seen many movies lately.  The other night, we did manage to pop in “I am Legend“, an end-of-the-world movie starring Will Smith.  It chronicles the story of the very last man on Earth (well, kinda) as he strives to find a cure for the virus that is responsible for exterminating mankind.  I said he’s kinda the last man on Earth because he co-exists with these creatures who used to be humans, until the virus turned them into creepy, maniacal, flesh-devouring beasts.  Luckily for Smith, they can only come out at night because light proves fatal to them, so he spends his days collecting samples and information to study and do experiments in his lab at night, hoping to find a cure for the virus, a virus that interestingly mutated from what humans originally believed was a cure for cancer.

The movie was entertaining, though I have to admit when I first starting watching it, I had a bit of “Doomsday” dread – see my previous post of the same name about one horrible movie – if you dare.  However, “I am Legend” ended up only sharing generic end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it characteristics with the movie “Doomsday”, thank goodness for that.  Speaking of end-of-the-world movies, the creatures in “I am Legend” also reminded me a bit of the ravaging monsters in “28 Weeks Later“, but in a genre like this, I guess it’s difficult to be entirely unique.

It might seem lonely being the last man on Earth, but Will Smith’s character does have a faithful companion, a dog named Sam.  I’m going to risk a minor spoiler here so I can tell you what I really liked about their relationship.  In a moment of weakness, Will Smith is cradling his strong dog buddy Sam, and we learn that the dog’s name is actually Samantha.  The symbolism here is very well done and notably appreciated – you’ll have to see the movie to get it, even though I probably just spoiled that part for you – oops.

Overall, as I said, it was entertaining to watch, and pretty creepy at times.  The overuse of computer animation was annoying to say the least.  There were lots of animals in the film – beasts roam the deserted shell of what’s left of New York City – but they were all computer animated.  I agree with the person who reviewed the movie on imdb.com, I can live with the animals being computer generated, but the virus-addled humanesque beasts, now THAT was BEYOND annoying!  They could be pretty scary at times, but it was probably due to the snarling noises more than the way they looked.  During most of the action scenes involving the creatures, the computer animation was horribly fake-looking and even laughable, which of course takes away from the mood of a film such as this.

If you like the mankind-is-extinct type of movies or are a Will Smith fan, I think you should see this movie.  The best parts were the scenes of him roaming a deserted New York City – those were pretty cool to see.  But if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like the hopelessness or loneliness one might feel when imagining the end of the world, not to mention watching frightening creatures unleash terror and violence, skip “I am Legend” and go for “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” instead – classic Will Smith the whole family can enjoy!

Doomsday – Not Just a Clever Title

Posted in Movies on March 19th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The movie Doomsday is about a virus that wipes out all of Scotland.  I’m not really inspired to write much about it because I didn’t like the movie.  I can’t even think of anyone I know who would.  I wasn’t bored at the theater, but you couldn’t pay me to watch this movie again.  First of all, it wasn’t my type of movie.  It was sci-fi and took place in the future, which is already 2 strikes against it as far as I’m concerned.  And then there was the violence.  The never-ending, non-stop, constantly gruesome and always bloody violence.  People died in any and every way you can imagine and some hopefully you can’t.  I lost count after 5 decapitations, all very graphic, and there were also scenes of people getting squished, burned alive, smashed by cars…  like I said, you name a method of torture, it was in this movie.  I was not expecting this.  I thought the movie was going be more like Outbreak, where people try to combat the virus together – I would classify that as more of a drama from what I can remember.  After seeing Doomsday, I even had a dream involving severed limbs last night…  thank goodness it wasn’t nearly as graphic or bloody as the movie…  I wouldn’t even classify it as a nightmare.  And don’t go thinking I’m some kind of weirdo – if you were exposed to almost 2 hrs. of that kind of violence, you would understand why it came across in my sleep!  But anyway, Doomsday definitely goes on my Worst Movies I’ve Seen list.  So far the list consists of:

1.  The Night Listener

2.  The Producers (2005)

3.  Doomsday

4.  The Devil’s Rejects

5.  Meet the Spartans – I’m actually going to remove this one – it doesn’t really qualify as a movie, plus I didn’t see the whole thing.  I KNEW it was going to be horrible, but my husband wanted to try it for some reason…  we lasted for about 10 mins, if that.

This list is in no particular order.  It’s really difficult to do that because they were all horrible in their own unique ways.  I liked the original Producers (1968), but I never even saw the whole remake with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick because I couldn’t get past the first scene, which is rare for me, usually I will stick it out.  The Night Listener was horrible because it was predictable and dumb, but I would much rather sit thru that movie again than be subjected to Doomsday and all the violence again…  But when I saw each of them for the first time, I was more entertained by Doomsday than by The Night Listener…  so it just depends on the movie and what you mean by worst.  But they are all worthy of being classified as the worst movies I’ve ever seen, for one reason or another, some more than others.

I was totally surprised that Doomsday ended up being so bad after seeing that movies.com gave it an “A” as a rating!  I used to have this theory that I would go opposite whatever the critics said about a movie, and I think I will have to continue that trend.  If I remember correctly, Ebert and Roeper gave Devil’s Rejects “2 Thumbs Up”.  As I said, movies.com liked Doomsday, but I think the following excerpt of their critic’s review just about says it all – I say, see this movie at your own risk, on a dare, or if for some reason you are getting paid.  Otherwise, don’t bother with it, don’t know why we did!

From movies.com:

 “Name something you want in an ultraviolent action thriller and this movie delivers it. Impalement, decapitation, decapitated heads being affixed back onto bodies only to then take arrows through the skull and fall off again, motorcycles decorated with human skeletons, cannibalism, exploding bunnies, insane car chases, wacky costumes, incomprehensible editing, an indestructible a hot chick heroine (Rhona Mitra, who looks like what would happen if Kate Beckinsale and Victoria Beckham had a baby that was the Terminator) whose hotness grows in tandem with the number of people she mows down in the name of truth. Does it suck? Sorta. Is that awesome? Absolutely. In terms of sheer excitement, it’s the best movie of 2008.”

NOTE FROM ME – Best movie of 2008?  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re only in the 3rd month!