In Which I Cannot Wait

I loved, adored and treasured The Help when I read it a couple of years ago.

And while I’m normally wary when someone makes a movie based on a book I love, I cannot wait for this one.

Aibilene was my favorite character in the book. It looks like the same will be true for the movie.

Also: that pink tile that’s in the bathroom with the toile wallpaper? IT IS MY HERITAGE. It seemed like everybody had that pink tile in their house when I was growing up. We didn’t have it in my house, though; Mama picked out sort of a muted turquoise tile for their master bath, and I would give anything to have it in my house right now.

Everything old is new again, I reckon.

The best part of all is that everyone’s Southern accents sound really accurate. Except for maybe Allison Janney’s (it seems a little Shirley-Maclaine-in-SteelMagnolias-ish). But we will extend her great grace because of The West Wing, not to mention that maybe they were going for more of a Delta-woman-born-in-the-20s sort of sound.

So what about y’all? Have you read the book? Will you see the movie?

Miss Mississippi 2011 Viewing Party

Okay. Here’s the low-down.

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’.

Also: sometime around 9:45 or 9:50 (central), leave a comment with your prediction for who’s going to take the crown. Once the pageant is over, I’ll draw from all the correct predictions and send the winner a SPESHUL PAGEANT PRIZE.

I should probably point out that the prize is not a crown.

I know that’s going to be a disappointment to some of you, but I do hope you’ll participate in the festivities anyway.

So. With all that being said, let’s enjoy the show. See y’all in the comments!

(Be sure to click on the play button in the bottom left hand corner to watch. If you click on the big play button in the center, the internet will whisk you away to the main livestream site. And we will miss you.)

An Exciting Miss Mississippi Update

I have the best news. Or at least it’s the best news to me.

It’s no big secret that I have long been borderline obsessed with the Miss Mississippi pageant.

Why? BECAUSE IT’S A PAGEANT THAT MEANS SOMETHING.

And I really don’t even know what that means, by the way. But I feel it way down deep in my soul.

Anyway, tonight I realized that I can actually embed the live video of the pageant finals right here on my blog, and I plan to do just that this Saturday night (July 2nd) around 7:45 pm central time. That way we can watch together and visit in the comments. I’ve been thinking about doing a Twitter party, but those get pretty annoying for people who aren’t participating, so I think this is a much better solution.

And yes, I realize that there may only be four to seven of y’all who actually show up to watch the pageant with me. That is totally understandable since people have families and responsibilities and other things to do that do not involve bedazzled evening gowns.

But I think the four to seven of us who watch together will have a ball. We can make predictions, analyze evening wear, keep our mouths shut during swimsuit because WHO AMONG US HAS ROOM TO CRITICIZE and clap our hands like crazy during the talent competition.

And listen. I know that some pageants have gotten all fancy and high-falutin’, but Miss Mississippi is not one of them. It’s just HOME. So bring your AquaNet, your sequins and your best rendition of “On My Own” from Les Miserables.

We’re gonna have ourselves a mighty good time.

How We Can Help

I know that there are lots of wonderful people out there doing lots of wonderful work in response to the storms this past Wednesday. Here are three ways that are directly connected to our blog community (granted, one of them is connected because it’s my church, but that counts, right?).

Relief for people in northeast Alabama (please read sweet Lisa McKay’s story)

Relief for people in the Shoal Creek Valley (the story of the Lee family is incredibly moving)

Relief efforts through The Church at Brook Hills (scroll down and click on “give”)

Many thanks to all of you who have felt led to give and to help and to pray.

Hope y’all have a wonderful weekend!

25 Things: The ‘Ham

We’ve been in Birmingham for almost eleven years (BLOWS MY MIND), and I’m more convinced than ever that moving here was one of the best decisions we ever made. Here are 25 of my favorite things about this place (in no particular order, really).

1. our church
2. A’s school
3. the Steinmart(s) near our house
4. the trees and the hills and the flowers – it is beautiful here
5. the way the western summer sky looks when the sun sets (especially when we’re coming home from church on Sunday nights)
6. Dreamcakes
7. The Summit (which includes Chuy’s, NATURALLY)
8. At Home
9. my work
10. sweet tea in every single restaurant
11. knowing that this is the place that A thinks of as home
12. knowing that this is the place that D and I have come to think of as home
13. the McWane Center
14. the fact that this town is SEC FOOTBALL CUCKOO
15. hearing the kids on our street playing outside together in the afternoons
16. Friday Special at Taziki’s
17. Dr. and Mrs. K – a precious couple whose example has taught us more than they will ever know
18. Full Moon BBQ
19. Montevallo Road and Altadena Road in the spring
20. Fresh Market & Whole Foods
21. WorkPlay
22. 280 (I really do love 280 – maybe because I don’t have to drive it during rush hour)
23. knowing that the Southeastern Conference and Southern Living are headquartered here – it’s almost too much for my Southern heart to take
24. sweet friends who make me laugh
25. looking back over the last eleven years and seeing some very specific reasons why God brought us here (Psalm 107:7-9)

What do you love about the town where you live?

Some Thoughts On Pageants And Basketball

After church this morning the little man and I hopped in the car and drove to Starkville to see the Bulldogs play Auburn. I planned this little outing on the spur of the moment after State beat Ole Miss last Thursday night, and I figured it would be a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon. D didn’t really care about going because basketball is his least favorite sport (AND SOMEHOW WE’VE MANAGED TO STAY MARRIED FOR OVER 13 YEARS), so Alex and I went on a super-quick mama-son road trip. I was tickled to pieces about spending the afternoon at State with my young’un because 1) basketball and 2) MY WORD, BASKETBALL.

On the way to Starkville Alex decided that he wanted to play Angry Birds on my iPod, so I called Melanie to distract myself from the Angry Birds music that EMBEDS ITSELF IN MY BRAIN. Seriously. After I hear it for five minutes I start to mimic the motions of a marionette, and after ten minutes I’m ready to throw the iPod out the window because OH SWEET MERCY AT THAT MUSIC. Anyway, Mel and I desperately needed to discuss Saturday night’s Miss America pageant. We’d enjoyed a lively commentary on Twitter the night before, but there comes a time when you need to discuss a topic beyond the 140 character limit.

I have to say that I was thrilled to see Miss America back on a major network. It should be. And Chris Harrison is the perfect host – totally earnest but completely in on the schtick of the whole thing, too. He gets it. Because the thing about Miss America is that you can’t overthink it – you just have to embrace it. I’ve said for years that the pageant needs to quit worrying about proving how modern it is and just let some girls twirl some fire batons, already. When I was growing up Miss America wasn’t just a pageant – it was an event – but for the last few years it seems like the pageant has been trying to prove its relevance, and it’s lost some of its appeal in the process.

I guess the bottom line is that when it comes the Miss America pageant, there are only, in my opinion, a few must-haves: articulate women, entertaining talents and evening gowns that have been bedazzled to the point that they weigh anywhere from 10 to 15 pounds.

I would also appreciate a couple of musical numbers. You know, something like this.

Or maybe even this.

Apparently the 1989 Miss America pageant was co-sponsored by Leslie Lucks dresses and Paul Mitchell Freeze & Shine.

The more I’ve thought about it today, the more I’ve decided that there were parts of last night’s pageant that were closer to the days of yore than what we’ve seen in recent years. Granted, there was no shortage of cheesy, but oh my goodness that’s part of the charm. I don’t like all the tricky business of having a top 12 but only 10 people do their talents and then wait! Only five of you will be interviewed! Overall, though, there were some definite old-school moments. And I just think that’s how Miss America should be. There was a ventriloquist who yodeled, for heaven’s sake. In fact, I couldn’t help but hark back to one of my all-time favorite pageant moments from my teenage years.

Yes. I know. And you’re welcome.

Mel and I eventually wrapped up our post-pageant analysis, and before I knew it Alex and I were walking into the coliseum. It wasn’t lost on me that the Black Crowes were playing as we made our way to our seats – it was like 1991 all over again except for the fact that I wasn’t wearing a really big bow in my hair and also my bangs no longer have their own zip code. But we did see Bully when we were on the way to meet EK, and that made a certain seven year-old very happy indeed.

Have I ever told y’all that I am fairly terrified of mascots?

Well, I am fairly terrified of mascots.

I attribute this fear to my lifelong distrust of clowns.

But I digress.

We were so glad that it worked out for us to sit by EK and her little man during the game, and OH, how we cheered. State was ahead by at least 15 points for most of the game, so the boys on the bench got lots of playing time. It was so fun to yell for them. Alex, like his daddy, is completely cut and dried when it comes to matters of competition – he’s not going to half-way cheer for anybody, and if you’re the opposing team, well, you fall from his good graces for the duration of the game. When the game’s over, everybody can be buddies again, but until then, NO MERCY. Anyway, at one point in the second half an Auburn player fouled Dee Bost, the Bulldogs’ point guard, and my child pointed his finger straight at that Auburn player, leaned forward in his seat and yelled, “DO NOT MESS WITH THE MIGHTY DEE BOST!”

And I was so proud.

So I guess the bottom line is that my weekend consisted of Miss America, church, and SEC basketball. I believe that’s what the sociologists refer to as the Southern trifecta. And the fact that I saw Miss Arkansas yodel? Well, we might just be dealing with the Southern quadfecta.

Which may or may not be a word.

But if it isn’t, it totally should be.