Archives for July 2013

Miss Mississippi 2013 Viewing Party

Before we get started, here’s my standard viewing party call to order:

We’ll share our thoughts / observations / reactions in the comments. This is all in good fun, so let’s please be mindful that somebody’s mama or cousin or great-aunt Ethel could stop by and read what we say. In other words: let’s do our level best not to say anything hurtful. These girls are young and singing / dancing / performing their hearts out. Plus, if any one of them showed up at a pool or beach where I happened to be spending the day, I would cover myself with a blanket and run screaming for the indoors. These girls are darlin’.

As far as watching the pageant goes, there are a few options. If you’re in Mississippi, you can watch on WLBT. If you’re like me and in another state, you can watch on the Miss Mississippi pro app, or you can watch the WLBT live feed on your computer or iPad. Here’s the link to the WLBT live feed.

And I know that nobody cares, but I’m gonna watch the pageant on my iPad (via WLBT) and use the computer for blog stuff. I feel good about this decision.

So. With all that being said, let’s enjoy the show. I’ll update this post throughout the pageant, and we’ll visit in the comments. It’ll be big fun. See y’all at 8 central!

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Okay – here we go – hopefully.

I still haven’t completely recovered from last year’s unfortunate technical difficulties.

For the record, there are few words that bring me as much joy as “the Miss Mississippi dancers.”

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I believe we have a slightly different runway situation. It wraps around instead of going out into the center of the auditorium. Very fancy.

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Big points to anyone with the name “Emma Kate.” For entirely personal reasons, of course (a different Emma Kate was my roommate at State).

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Alex won’t watch with me, but every time he hears one of the girls say “Mississippi State University,” he does a little “raise the roof” motion. HOME TRAINING. :-)

I have had to switch to watching the WLBT live feed on my computer, by the way – because for some reason the pageant is delayed on my iPad, and I can’t stand not to be caught up with everybody else.

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Do y’all think we could take a class to learn how to say our names in that very unique, pageant-y tone?

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We have an emcee who is expecting a baby in five weeks? This speaks to great levels of pageant commitment.

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Top 10:

Miss Mississippi State University
Miss Leaf River Valley
Miss Heartland
Miss Southern Heartland
Miss North Central
Miss University
Miss Historic South
Miss West Central
Miss University of Southern Mississippi
Miss Amory Railroad Festival

State, Ole Miss, and USM are all in the top 10 – that hasn’t happened in forever! And Miss West Central is a Chi Omega at State, so HOOTIE HOOT to her. :-)

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I am going to have to go watch on our big computer. Flipping back and forth on the laptop isn’t working for me. It’s all about gametime adjustments, people.

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If someone asked me to wear that silver jumpsuit, I’d have to drop out.

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Evening Gown –

Jasmine Murray is gorgeous. GORGEOUS. Remember when she was on “American Idol”?

It seems like they’re giving a lot of time to each girl in her gown.

And my word – I have never seen such a mermaid skirt. FIT AND FLARE, MY FRIENDS.

Those first three gowns were WOW, for sure.

Was Miss Univ.’s shoe caught in her train? I had a hard time telling.

How do y’all feel about the wrap-around runway?

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Y’all, those silver jumpsuits may be the worst looking costumes I’ve ever seen.

YAY, Challie Ray!!!! She looks phenomenal.

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Okay. Talent is next. I am AFLUTTER about the possibilities.

TALENT –

I always appreciate it when somebody crouches down a little bit before they go for a big note.

Miss Leaf River Valley is DANCING!!!!! And that was impressive – loved it. Very pretty.

OH. TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES. This reminds me of a time in the 80s when one of the contestants was playing the marimba (no kidding) and the orchestra’s sheet music was out of whack and she had to finish without accompaniment. VERY DRAMATIC.

Jessica on the piano was just as cute as she could be.

I so appreciate the use of stage terms during the pageant – “strike the piano” – reminds me of Waiting for Guffman.

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MORE DANCING!!!!

I give the first half of talent to Miss Leaf River Valley (lyrical dance) or Miss Southern Heartland (piano). What did y’all think?

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Ole Miss girls bring it with the opera. Does anybody remember Missy Hurdle from the late 80s / early 90s?

If that whole princess thing had been a possibility when I was a little girl, I would have worried my mama to death until she let me participate.

All righty – the feed has quit working on my end of things.

FEED IS WORKING – but what were the last two talents? I’m heartbroken that I’ve apparently missed a fiddler.

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SWIMSUIT –

As far as I’m concerned, they all look like a million bucks. There is no amount of money that would make me get up on a stage in a two-piece so that the spectacle of it all could be televised. The end.

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Next up is the on-stage interview. And from what I understand, we’ll be able to vote on the app. Or something along the lines. But I’ll go ahead and say that I am a smidge skeptical about incorporating technology into the festivitie. There have been some glitches tonight, after all.

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INTERVIEW –

Top 5:

Miss West Central – Laura Lee Lewis
Miss University of Southern Mississippi – Hannah Roberts
Miss Amory Railroad Festival – Chelsea Rick
Miss University – Caroline Connerly
Miss Leaf River Valley – Jordin Johnson

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All righty. Time for the final results. I’m as confused about who it will be as I have ever been.

4th Runner-up – Miss University (I’m surprised by that – I thought she would finish higher)
3rd Runner-up – Miss Leaf River Valeey
2nd Runner-up – Miss West Central
1st Runner-up – Miss University of Southern Mississippi
Miss Mississippi 2013 – Miss Amory Railroad Festival

Thanks, y’all, for making the pageant so much fun! We’ll do this again in January September (!) when it’s time for Miss America!

Miss Mississippi Reminder

This has nothing to do with Miss Mississippi, but earlier this week my mama sent me a family friend’s funeral program (just in case, you know, I wanted to do a little light reading), and she also wrote me a note about what had been going on for the previous three or four days. This was my favorite part:

I have been without a stove since last Tuesday, so I can’t cook. I’VE LOVED IT. I was baking Sylvia a cake and it blew up. See you the 19th.

Love, Mama

For some reason it has tickled me to no end.

Anyway, I just wanted to remind anyone who’s interested that we’ll be having a little Miss Mississippi viewing party tomorrow night (Saturday, July 13th) at 8:00pm central. You can watch the pageant on the Miss Mississippi website or on the pro version of the fancy new Miss Mississippi app (links for the app are on the home page of the website).

I’ll put up a post tomorrow night about 7:50 central – and we’ll use that post to comment as we watch (provided that the live stream cooperates). This will all be in good-natured, friendly fun, and we’ll be ever-mindful not to say anything mean or hurtful. Mainly we just like to have a safe and happy place to talk about the pretty dresses and share our gratitude for contestants who tap dance or clog.

(This is not from Miss Mississippi. But it is an excellent example of everything that is good and right and wonderful about tap dancing in a pageant.)

It should be a delightful time. Hope some of y’all can join us for the festivities!

The Retail World Is Now Restored To Normal Working Order

A couple of weeks before my book came out, my fellas and I had just finished eating a little Mexican food when I said, “Hey. I know what we can do next. I need to run in Steinmart to look for a couple of shirts for book signing stuff, so maybe y’all could drop me off there and then hang out at the bookstore for a little while.” They agreed that the plan was full of win, mainly because they would not be subjected to shopping with me, a task that is apparently – at least for them – only slightly less enjoyable than a attending a four-hour poetry reading where someone serves them dainty portions of cold food.

I try not to take offense. I know in my heart of hearts that I am a delightful shopper. It’s just that my tendency to be a thorough shopper pretty much drives them crazy.

So we hopped in the car and made the trip over to the Steinmarts. There were only a few cars in the parking lot, and I remember thinking that the crowd seemed a little sparse for a Friday night. However, I chalked that up to good shopping fortune, and as I was grabbing my purse before I got out of the car, David mentioned that it looked like there were some signs hanging on the front entrance.

I looked toward the doors, and sure enough, I spotted the signs. And then I noticed that there didn’t seem to be anyone inside the store. So I asked D to drive a little closer, and as we approached the sidewalk in front of the store, I started to worry that something at my Steinmarts had gone horribly awry.

Alex and I jumped out of the car (I think he felt like he had happened upon a mystery), and I promise you that I felt like a character in some sort of post-apocalyptic disaster movie as we walked up to the doors. I was stunned as much as anything else, and when I was finally able to read the signs, I felt a little bit like Tea Leoni staring out at the ocean in Deep Impact. You know, the ocean that had just been hit by a comet that was going to DESTROY THE WORLD.

(I can’t imagine why the men in my life don’t enjoy shopping with me.)

(I am very level-headed and always maintain such a healthy perspective!)

Here’s what the signs said:

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It was all so sudden. So unexpected. And, you know, not to be selfish or anything, but given the fact that I had some SPECIFIC CLOTHING NEEDS for book stuff, the timing was not at all convenient.

The next week I made a trip to a Steinmart in another part of town, and I was fascinated by the differences. Most of the women in the store were probably somebody’s Martha or somebody’s Sissie – you could just tell that it was a store that women liked to visit after they got their hair fixed at the beauty parlor. I later told Melanie that as far as the clothing selection was concerned, I had never in my life seen such an impressive array of petite floral club shirts. Mel and I eventually pieced together a loose (and possibly unreliable) theory that the Steinmarts must target different demographics in different stores, and the demographic for that particular store was People Who Go On Lots of Cruises. And if the sheer volume of three-piece, dressy suits was any indication, they’re also People Who Still Wear Hose To Church. I could’ve stayed there and people-watched all day.

Eventually I decided to go to couple of department stores to find what I was looking for. It was sad, though, because I’m used to Steinmart being my go-to in times of fashion need. For thirteen years my Steinmart and I have weathered all manner of fashion-related storms, and if we made it through 2001 and 2002, when I owned ALL the floral capri pants, then surely Steinmart wouldn’t desert me right here in 2013 when I am trying to thoughtfully and methodically evaluate all the colored denim – not to mention the maxi dresses – that the good Lord hath provided. Right?

But alas, my favorite Steinmart remained closed. I sort of pieced together that there must have been trouble with the store’s physical structure (I say that like I launched an in-depth investigation, but the fact that there was yellow KEEP AWAY tape running along one side of the building, along with some huge steel beams braced against the outer wall – well, 2 + 2, etc.). And while I know that what I’m about to tell you may speak to a certain (unhealthy?) level of emotional attachment, I missed the people who worked there. There are six or seven people who have been at that store since D and I moved here in 2000, and thirteen years of Steinmart shopping will forge some bonds. No doubt out it.

Well.

A couple of weeks ago Alex and I noticed that there was some activity in an empty storefront that’s in the same shopping center as our Steinmart. We could see that people were working on the floors and walls inside, so I crossed my fingers that a new Steinmart day was about to dawn. And sure enough, when Alex and I were running errands earlier today, I saw a lot of cars in front of what used to be a Circuit City. So we turned into the shopping center, rounded the corner – and then I squealed.

Seriously. I squealed.

I squealed like I was a twelve year-old who had just won backstage passes for a Taylor Swift concert. WITH A SPECIAL APPEARANCE BY ONE DIRECTION, Y’ALL.

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Oh, it was a sweet, sweet reunion. However, I may have scared Elizabeth, who works at the Customer Service register, when I walked in and said, “OH MY WORD YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW I’VE MISSED Y’ALL WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED.” Once we were all caught up, I made a loop around the store and visited with some of the ladies who work there, and after about fifteen minutes, I realized that I might need to REIN IN THE ENTHUSIASM, GLADYS. I mean, I don’t think I left anybody needing a sedative or anything like that, but there were a couple of people who may have looked a little startled.

To my credit, I didn’t hug anyone. Clearly I exercised remarkable restraint.

So. We are just as happy as we can be around here. Or at least I am. Because truth be told, nobody else in this house is all that concerned with the state of the Steinmarts. But I am so tickled that it is back, and it is open, and even better, it is home to an extensive collection of maxi dresses.

Hallelujah. And also amen.

100% Chance Of A 100% Chance Of Rain

Well, it has rained here for the last forty-nine days.

Okay. Maybe it hasn’t been forty-nine days on the nose.

But it has rained a lot. Now granted, when I look outside and see how lush and green and borderline tropical everything looks, I am mighty grateful for that rain. It’s just that I’ve had a touch of the cabin fever. Or at least I had a touch of cabin fever until sometime Friday morning when I was waiting on the plumber and decided to embrace the R&R time – because it won’t be long before we’re at the mercy of a school schedule again, and I’ll be thinking, Hey. You know what I could use more than anything in the whole world? Three days in my pajamas.

Thankfully, the plumber did make it by here Friday afternoon, and after he worked and worked and worked for about an hour and a half, he left us with some wisdom in terms of Keeping The Drain Lines Healthy. The main bit-o-wisdom that really stood out to me – and I am happy to pass this along at absolutely no charge – is that if you are thinking of breaking leftover pot roast and carrots into small pieces and then putting them down your disposal, FLEE FROM THAT THOUGHT.

Seriously. Your checkbook will thank me.

Because I am here to tell you that the pot roast and my disposal apparently developed some sort of covenant relationship last Wednesday night. Not even the Drano gel could sever it.

Anyway, plumbing woes aside, it turned out to be a super-relaxing long weekend. We read and played cards and played Clue (oh my word. Clue. I’d forgotten how fun it is.) and I even played a couple of hidden object games (I can’t explain it, but I am drawn to them like a moth to flame). I also happened upon a Giuliana & Bill marathon Friday afternoon, and oh my word it was a FIGHT to get out of that reality TV rabbit hole. I would think, Okay. I’m just gonna watch one more episode – but somehow one turned into two turned into three. I was finally able to break free after a season of intense prayer and fasting.

Or maybe I just really wanted some Four Cheese Cheez-Its and turned off the TV. But let us all pretend that it was a terribly dramatic parting.

Early yesterday afternoon it looked like we were gearing up for LO, EVEN MORE RAIN, so I decided that reading a book would be a fine way to spend my Sunday afternoon. My fellas were playing Clue, so I pulled out the ole iPad and finally finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. I realize that everybody was reading this book about ten years ago, but apart from loving the title, I never got around to reading it. Yesterday, however, I finished it, and when I was looking around for something else that might be fun to read, I remembered that I’d downloaded Divergent after my friend Anne recommended it a few weeks ago.

And oh, y’all.

I just.

Could not.

COULD NOT. Put it down.

So I finished it late last night.

It was fascinating to read, because in so many ways, it is not my kind of book. It’s action-y and fantasy-y and dystopia-y. There are official factions, for heaven’s sake. Plus, whenever I read young adult fiction, I inevitably have a moment where the mama comes out in me and I start to question the protagonist’s choices and want to warn him / her that they need not go down that particular road, whatever the road happens to be. Truth be told, there were a couple of times when I felt that way in Divergent.

But oh my goodness – I enjoyed the story so much. I felt great affection for the characters (and that is usually my biggest hurdle when I read – if I don’t care about the characters, I probably won’t like the book). And I’ll be dadgummed if the book didn’t make me think A LOT about the church. That’s the part that I’ve been thinking about all day, actually – the lines we draw, the camps we set up, the hills we die on, the ships we (sometimes) jump. I don’t have any reason to think that the author was trying to make A Big Point about the church or anything like that, but since it’s something I’ve been thinking about a whole bunch lately, I guess I just saw elements of that in the plot.

It’s probably not a surprise that I am now on a quest to read the second book in the series, and hopefully that’ll happen sometime this week. But first I need to unload the dishwasher and then load it all over again and wash some clothes and then fold those clothes and then, if I’m feeling particularly ambitious, PUT AWAY THOSE CLOTHES.

Fortunately I’m going to have plenty of time to do all of those things, because, well, look.

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I think I’m detecting a theme.

Happy Monday, everybody.

Miss Mississippi Viewing Party – Just A Week Away

Well, I hope y’all had a delightful 4th of July. We ate some Mexican food and then lit some stuff on fire. It was very celebratory.

(I’m skipping the details about how my kitchen sink has been stopped up for two days and how we have tried every home remedy we know of and even a few we have discovered on the Internet.)

(But still: CLOGGED.)

(The plumber will be here in a little while.)

Earlier this morning it dawned on me that Miss Mississippi – which, if you ask me, is right up there with the 4th of July as far as national events are concerned – is next week, July 10-13. That means that the finals will be next Saturday night, June 13th, at 8pm central.

Last year we had all manner of technical difficulties with the Miss Mississippi live stream and had to call off the viewing party. I may have shed a tear or three – especially since our viewing parties for Miss Mississippi and Miss America are some of my favorite bloggy memories. Heaven knows that I will forever hold dear the three-tap-dancers-in-the-top-10 from the most recent Miss America pageant.

In fact, I’m going to go ahead and put this little video right here so that it’s in a convenient spot when I decide to watch it fourteen times in a row later this afternoon.

So anyway, I just wanted to make sure that we’re all clear on the details for this year’s Miss Mississippi finals, especially since I just discovered that there’s another way for us to watch, and we can still have our discussion right here on the blawg.

The Miss Mississippi App

Seriously. A Miss Mississippi app. IS THIS NOT A WONDER? I’m certainly not trying to encourage you to impulsively spend the 99 cents (plus tax), especially since I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little cautious about how the app will be able to handle the live stream. But you’d better believe that I’m going to take a chance.

(There’s also a free version of the app, but the free version doesn’t have live stream capabilities.)

And if you’re not an iPhone or iPad person, there are apps for other platforms. Just take a look here.

Now I think this probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: I am linking to this app simply because I discovered its existence during my ongoing quest to maximize my Miss Mississippi viewing experience. But other than that, I don’t know anything about it. I can’t guarantee that it’ll work just because you spend a dollar on it.

And because I am a serious journalist who specializes in hard-hitting reporting on international events, I called the Miss Mississippi office to ask for lo, even more details about this year’s live stream. The pageant will still be available online (“on our website,” said the sweet girl who answered the phone), but the app will make the live stream experience more interactive.

I mean, just look at all of this information, people. It should surprise absolutely no one that I’m gonna use this app to study for this pageant like somebody’s gonna give me an exam grade.

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It’s like my whole world just opened up.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 25

Well, I would say that this is our special 4th of July podcast, but that would imply that we had 1) a plan or 2) a theme. However, please feel free to light yourself a sparkler before or after you listen to it. There’s certainly nothing wrong with adding a festive touch.

Since Melanie and I didn’t get to talk much last week, I was so excited about recording this podcast just so we could catch up a little bit more. I will warn you that the sound is doing something a little weird in places, but I don’t know how to fix it since I’m not exactly sure what the problem is. I’m starting to think, though, that a new microphone might be in order. Maybe one of those fancy ones that I can wear like a headset. It’s high-time that I made my eight year-old dream of being a DJ come true. Well, sorta.

Anyway, this week we’re talking about what we’re cooking (again! with new developments!), what we’re reading, and then we spend some time talking about the wonders of Amazon Prime. Also, about mid-way through this episode, the folks who are replacing Melanie’s roof start working on the roof with great enthusiasm, which means that there are all sorts of sound effects we never intended. There may have even been a moment when I wondered if someone had fallen through Melanie’s ceiling. This level of professionalism and quality is no doubt what you have come to expect from us.

You can click here to listen. Or here. Or, as always, you can subscribe on iTunes if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

And on a serious note: It seems like lately there’s been one heartbreaking tragedy after another. We’re holding the families and friends of the nineteen Prescott, Arizona firefighters extra close in our prayers.