I Would Have Blogged…

…but I’ve been too busy stressing out over the College World Series. The Bulldogs lost to UCLA tonight in the first game of the finals, but I’m hopeful that tomorrow night will be a different story. And if the ‘Dogs want to score 18 to 20 runs just to make a statement, that will be fine by me.

Anyway, there’s no way that I’m going to be able to string sentences together until I get all of this baseball out of my system, but I did want to share a life-changing bit of information that Sister and I learned in Starkville this past weekend. Here it is.

Slice some seedless watermelon about 1/4″ thick.

Sprinkle feta cheese and chopped mint on top of the watermelon slices.

Marvel at the magic of the unexpected flavor combinations.

Resist the urge to slap your mama.

Several people mentioned on Twitter today that a little balsamic vinaigrette is an excellent addition to this combo, so I’ll be trying that tomorrow. We had the watermelon as an appetizer in Starkville – it was cut into cute little circles with a biscuit cutter – but today I just chopped up watermelon, put it in a bowl, and treated it like a salad. DELICIOUS.

Anyway, I’m going to try to get some sleep now. It’s late, and I need to wake up early and work on my curve ball.

Oh, I kid.

Go ‘Dogs.

Linkaroos

Well, right now I’m watching game #10 of the College World Series, and I’m fascinated that there’s a player for the University of North Carolina named Skye Bolt. FASCINATED. I’m also really excited for him because clearly he is destined for an unstoppable career in meteorology once he completes his studies in Chapel Hill. I mean, I’d watch severe weather updates with Skye Bolt all the livelong day. And Skye Bolt with tomorrow morning’s forecast? YES MA’AM. BELIEVE I WILL.

All righty. Here are a few links I’ve been wanting to pass along.

This post of Ann’s took my breath away. It also made me want to go back to Uganda RIGHT NOW. Or at the very least next week.

– I mentioned this on Twitter last week, but it is my deep and heartfelt belief that this song is going to be this fall’s college football anthem. CUE THE MONTAGE.

– Y’all know that I love my Bulldogs, and this year’s baseball team has been especially fun to watch. They have a huge College World Series game Friday at 2:00; if they win, they’ll be one of the final two teams and play in next week’s three-game National Championship series. This ESPN article really gets to the heart of the team’s personality – I got such a kick out of it.

– Speaking of the Bulldogs (HELLO, TRANSITION)…I have a book signing this Saturday at Book Mart in Starkville, Mississippi. It’s from 10am-12pm. Sister will be there with me, so that will make it extra fun. And if the Bulldogs win on Friday, I imagine that we will ring some cowbells. (Edited to add: I just saw that the book is only $9.49 at Amazon right now, which is almost 40% off of the regular price – and not much more than what it’s selling for in Sam’s. Just FYI if you enjoy a sale.)

– Don’t forget to check out the latest posts by the Compassion Bloggers in Nicaragua. Whether you’re sponsoring a child, thinking about sponsoring a child, or wondering if child sponsorship actually works, you’ll be encouraged by what you read.

– A couple of days ago I read that Stephen Colbert’s mother passed away. Today I watched a video of his beautiful tribute to her life, and I can’t stop thinking about it. You may need a tissue or nine.


Have a great weekend, everybody.

When Basketball Makes Me Nervous

Well, I’m sitting here watching the State / Ole Miss basketball game. Blogging seems like a great idea right now, but if the game gets too heated in the second half, I will no doubt have to take a vacuuming break. For the good of the team, you understand.

Anyway, this may be a little bit disjointed (right now we’re down by 8; however, somehow I am managing to type words while also screaming at the TV), but there are a few really-not-at-all-noteworthy-but-somehow-important-to-me items that I would like to mention.

1. Apparently American Idol started tonight. I had no idea. And like I mentioned on Twitter a little bit ago, my lack of awareness about this season does not bode well in terms of my viewing commitment.

2. Remember a couple of months ago when I mentioned that I was trying to cut back on Diet Coke? Well, y’all won’t believe this – but I only drink one or two A WEEK now. And unlike other times when I’ve tried to quit the Diet Coke, I have not in fact replaced it with, oh, Diet Dr. Pepper. Or Diet Mountain Dew. And I have to say: cutting the post-lunch caffeine out of my life (I was drinking 3 or 4 Diet Cokes a day) has made a huge difference. More than anything else, I’m sleeping a whole lot better and waking up a whole lot easier. So yay.

3. We’re down by 6 with a little over 7 minutes left, and somehow I am remarkably calm. I haven’t even pulled out the vacuum yet. It’s like I barely know myself anymore.

4. This afternoon the little man and I stopped by the bookstore, and I DREADED taking our stuff up to the cash register because I knew I was going to have to endure a sales pitch for the store’s discount card. I don’t fault the clerks because they’re just doing their jobs, but OH SWEET MERCIFUL HEAVENS the up-sell drives me cuckoo. It makes me feel like stores don’t appreciate the fact that I’m handing over my money unless I hand over LO, EVEN MORE MONEY.

(Aaaaaand I’ve officially turned into my daddy, it would seem.)

5. We’re down by 5 with 1:47 left. I feel that it’s my duty to keep you updated on these critical basketball matters.

6. Earlier today I decided that my iTunes is in a little bit of a rut. I have a tendency to play the same songs over and over, and today I realized that I’ve burned myself out on my current rotation. Do y’all have any good recommendations? Anything that you’re listening to right now and loving? I like worship music and singer/songwriter stuff the best, but I am not opposed to a good country song. Oh no ma’am I am not.

7. The Bulldogs lost. Maybe I should’ve vacuumed after all.

8. I will now go console myself with some quality DVR’d programming. And perhaps some sort of cookie.

9. Hope your Thursday is a great one!

It’s A Lesser-Known Interpretation But Effective All The Same

I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not, but the Bulldogs have sort of a big game tonight. They’re playing (on ESPN, no less) a little team called the LSU Tigers, also known as The Quickest Men Alive.TM The Tigers are, in my opinion, the best team in the country right now, which means that by the end of the game tonight I will have either enthusiastically vacuumed every single inch of our house or fallen into a deep, dip-induced stupor and vowed that I will not leave the comfort of my bed until Saturday.

I’m very level-headed and logical when it comes to college football. You may have noticed that.

Anyway, three or four days ago, when I was still replaying the last 25 seconds of the State/Auburn game in my head and trying to figure out a way that I could TURN BACK THE TIME AND ALSO THE OFFICIALS’ HEADS WHEN COACH MULLEN WAS TRYING TO CALL TIME OUT (there. I said it.), I was looking through iPhoto for an old picture from the 2007 Egg Bowl when I ran across this little gem.

If memory serves, we were outside playing one day when the little man – who was four at the time – started humming the Mississippi State fight song (train up a child, way he should go, etc. and so on and so forth). So I ran inside and grabbed my laptop, then set it on the table on the porch and cranked ‘er up.

However, the little fella apparently felt like he could best execute his sah-weet dance moves to a slower version of the fight song. Perhaps the faster arrangement rushed him through the subtle nuances of his “HAIIIIII-YAH!” step. We may never know.

But regardless, the four year-old in this four year-old video is more than likely gonna do me a world of good in terms of keeping tonight’s game in perspective. Mainly because he CRACKS ME UP, and, you know, I’d take one day with him over a bajillionty wins against LSU.

Which is a good thing considering that State hasn’t beaten LSU in 12 years.

NOT THAT I’M COUNTING.

HAIIIIIII-YAH, y’all.

Sic ’em, ‘Dogs.

The Good, The Bad & The Oh My Word We Play LSU Next

Well, Sister and I went to the Mississippi State / Auburn game this past Saturday.

Yes. Yes, we did.

And listen. The first six-ish hours of our day were a giant happy rainbow. We left my house around 6, drove straight to Starbucks, fueled up for the trip with some big ole cups of Pike Place, then hit the road. We started driving east just as the sun was starting to peek over the trees, and it made for an absolutely beautiful drive. About two hours later we pulled into The Loveliest Village on the Plains, and since I’d reserved our parking space earlier in the week at one of AU’s covered parking decks (EVERY school should have these; I am such a fan), we parked without any problem at all.

The stadium was only about three blocks away, so after a short walk from the parking garage, we crossed the street and saw the site of Saturday morning’s SEC battle.

Would you be embarrassed for me if I told you that I was really, really nervous?

Because I was really, really nervous.

But I guess that is totally understandable since I play such a vital role in the Bulldogs’ game plan. I mean, I don’t mean to brag, but this arm of mine? IT IS AN OFFENSIVE WEAPON. I can throw the football upwards of five to eight and one half feet AT ONE TIME. So clearly the ‘Dogs like to use me in 3rd-and-short situations, not to mention during all those plays where they benefit from the distraction of having a player who squeals a lot and kicks up her back leg real purty-like when she releases the ball.

Oh, I kid.

Because y’all know that I really play cornerback. Fred Smoot taught me everything I know.

Sister and I decided that it would be fun to join the other State fans who were going to greet the team buses when they got to the stadium, so we walked in that direction and took in Auburn’s gameday atmosphere. Honestly, I was expecting more tailgating than what we saw, but I’ll give the Tigers the benefit of the doubt since it was a morning game and all. Plus, whatever Auburn lacked in the tailgating department, they more than made up for with the landscaping.

Do you see all of that perfectly placed pinestraw? The whole campus looked that way, and it was absolutely beautiful. Call us cow colleges all you want, but nobody can landscape like ag schools can. Combine the beautiful surroundings with down-to-earth, friendly people, and you have an atmosphere where visitors are quick to feel right at home. I’ll take that kind of genuine hospitality ALL DAY LONG. It makes for a mighty fun day of football.

While we were waiting for the team, Sister and I snapped a picture of ourselves despite the fact that we were both suffering from a terrible bout of the flat head. Neither one of us achieved our hair volume goals when we were getting ready Saturday morning, and I told myself that it was because the Lord wanted us to walk in a place of pre-game humility. My hair was so flat, in fact, that I was almost overcome by hair shame, but I felt better knowing that my flat-headed sister was with me. The Lord never lets us walk through these sorts of difficult times alone, you know.

Also, my head is enormous.

Seriously. EPIC.

We headed for our gate about an hour before the game started, but we had a wee small moment of panic before we went into the stadium. I may or may not* have had a cowbell in my purse, and Sister may or may not* have had a cowbell in her purse, and we were worried that our ALLEGED cowbells might be confiscated. We didn’t have any intention of ringing our ALLEGED cowbells during the game, but we’d taken them to meet the buses and ALLEGEDLY wrapped them up in t-shirts and put them in the bottom of our purses.

We also allegedly stuffed socks around the clangers so that they wouldn’t make any sudden noises.

ALLEGEDLY.

Our concerns were unfounded, though, and we made it through the bag checkpoints relatively unscathed. A few minutes later we found our seats and were pleasantly surprised to find that we 1) actually had really good seats and 2) were sitting in THE BLESSED SHADE. We were so excited about that second thing, and even though we knew we couldn’t avoid the sun forever, it surely was nice to know that we had a temporary reprieve.

As the stadium started to fill up we realized that while there were lots of State fans in our section, there were also lots of Auburn folks, and you really never know how that’s going to work out. I have to say, though, that we totally hit the Auburn fan jackpot. The people around us were so nice, so gracious, and so understanding of our occasional (and by “occasional,” I mean “frequent”) need to very vocally support our team.

Like, for instance, when they ran back in the locker room after warm-ups.

The game, in a word, was crazy. Initially Auburn was fired up and State was just flat-out rattled. Eventually, though, the ‘Dogs started to find their way. By the end of the first quarter we had us a real-live ballgame, and Sister and I were as nervous as a couple of long-tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs. By the beginning of the 4th quarter I started to think that the ‘Dogs were out of it for good – but then lo and behold we rallied, pulled within 7 and had a chance to tie or maybe even win the game in the final seconds.

But we didn’t.

And oh, IT SMARTED.

By the way, the sun was brutal during the second half, and while Sister managed to construct an effective sunshade out of an Alpha Gam fan (courtesy of the sweet family next to us) and an MSU shaker, I was not quite as fortunate. At times I draped the t-shirt that I had allegedly used to conceal my alleged cowbell OVER MY HEAD, but apparently my SPF was no match for the BALL OF FIRE in the sky. My sunglasses, however, were very effective, and that is why my face is now hot pink with the exception of two very large white circles around my eyes.

SASSY.

(*YES MA’AM we had cowbells in our purses. THAT’S OUR HERITAGE, Y’ALL. But we really didn’t ring them in the stadium.)

Anyway, even though I have A LOT OF THOUGHTS about how some things went during the game – especially in the second half – at the end of the day none of that stuff matters. Both teams fought like crazy, and in the end, Auburn won.

But did I mention that it smarted?

After the game we walked over to the Student Activities Center so that we could cool off and nurse our wounded pride for a little bit, and about 20 minutes later we decided to walk back to the car. The sun BALL OF FIRE was pounding on us every step of the way, so when we finally climbed in my car, I turned on the air and let it blow full-force for about five minutes before I even made an attempt to back out of my spot. We were BURNING UP – and when we stopped to eat supper on the way home, I am happy to report that I consumed approximately one gallon of assorted liquids. I alternated between water and unsweetened tea, and our poor waitress got a workout trying to keep my glasses refilled.

I believe the word you’re looking for is “dehydrated.”

All in all, though, it really was a great day. It was a great game. I wish things had gone the Bulldogs’ way, but hopefully we’ll bounce back this Thursday night against LSU.

Hopefully.

Because I don’t know if you’ve heard, but they are sort of REALLY, REALLY GOOD.

WE COULD TOTALLY WIN, THOUGH.

How’s that for optimism?

Go ‘Dogs.

Long-Time Listener, First-Time Caller

I don’t know why I seem to forget from year to year, but this is the week when the state of Alabama just LOSES ITS MIND. The fact that college football is just right around the corner seems to put some extra spring in people’s steps, and there’s lots of speculation and analysis and all-around giddyness. When I was running errands this afternoon I had three different conversations about the Bulldogs within a 30 minute time span, and it just tickled me to no end since we’re normally not really on the radar when it comes to Bama and Auburn fans’ preseason thoughts.

BUT. This year the Bulldogs are coming off a strong 2010 season, and SUPPOSEDLY we’re going to be pretty good. However, any State fan knows that the inclusion of the word SUPPOSEDLY is essential; we’re unaccustomed to things like accolades, hype, rankings, etc., so as always I’m approaching the upcoming season with a cautious optimism. Granted, there’s more optimism than usual on my part, but EASY DOES IT. Better to be the quietly confident team that surprises everybody than the trash-talking team that’s 0-4 come October.

All that being said, let’s go ahead and enjoy this little treasure, shall we?

Tonight at supper D and I were talking about the joys of sports call-in shows during this time of year, mainly because everybody fancies themselves an expert even though they’re ultimately just talking about a bunch of hypotheticals and unknowns. Today I actually rolled my eyes when I was listening to one of the early morning shows because it was all so, I don’t know, UTTERLY RIDICULOUS. I didn’t transcribe the conversations, so I don’t have any direct quotes, but I will say that it all made about as much sense as this:

Caller: “Well, um, I was just wonderin’, y’all. If Coach Saban got bit by a saber tooth tiger on his way to practice today, do you still think that Gene Chizik would start Barrett Trotter at QB this Saturday?”

Long-Suffering Radio Host: “Gosh, I haven’t really thought about that scenario, but why would something about Alabama affect the QB situation at Auburn? I don’t really understand…”

Caller: “Well, I’m gonna tell ya, Jay. The saber tooth tiger was a dangerous animal. And if it did bite Coach Saban – I’m not sayin’ that it will, I’m just sayin’ IF IT DID – then I don’t think Coach Chizik could feel safe playin’ Barrett. What with the saber-tooths on the loose and all.”

Sweet mercy I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

And finally, in the event that Texas A&M might perhaps maybe HYPOTHETICALLY find itself feeling right at home in the SEC at some point in the next few days, I would just like to (HYPOTHETICALLY) say “WELCOME, AGGIES.” I think the (HYPOTHETICAL) A&M move is great for them and great for the SEC. And quite frankly I would be tickled to (HYPOTHETICALLY) see a little more maroon in the conference.

Not to mention that Melanie and I would host a whale of a tailgate shindig when State and A&M (HYPOTHETICALLY) play each other in their first (HYPOTHETICAL) intra-conference game.

HYPOTHETICALLY.

College football starts in less than 72 hours, y’all. We’ll have our 2011 DipTacular on Wednesday. And yes, in case you were wondering, it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Giddy up.