Saturday, April 26, 2008

Blackberry Blogging

I know I've blogged from my Blackberry before - but never while lying on the beach in Miami. So I think I will, just because I can!

Not quite country, but I'll still kiss your...

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Mysterious Escape of Ann-Margaret

So - Ann-Margaret got out the other day. No idea how. But at around 6pm on Wednesday, I was upstairs changing and I heard Lucky hollering. I knew it was time for her bottle (nearly done weaning!) so I didn't think to investigate any further. Luckily, Marty did (she can make quite a racquet for such a small animal) and lo and behold, there's Ann-Margaret wandering around the driveway.

Ann-Margaret hasn't escaped since she was a baby and I pulled into the driveway to find her and Claudette running around and Nanny dead in the barn. But back then she was tiny and there were obvious gaps in the fence where it was easy to get out. Now, she's much larger (with much larger horns) and a check of the fence yielded no obvious spots where she could have squeezed through. Still she managed somehow.

It's all rather mysterious - don't you think?

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Possibility for a Pest Free Existence

So while I love being a Country Girl and all, there's one thing I have no tolerance for: bugs. When the ants start marching, out comes that can of Raid and I don't stop spraying until they are drowning in a toxic sea of Imiprothrin and Cypermethrin. I am not one of those people who gingerly picks up spiders and places them outside in their natural habitat. They are squashed and flushed before they can scurry away. You get the point.

Well, when you live on a farm, you have insects. It's a way of life - or so I have been told by my loving husband who at this point, is used to my shrill screams every time I find myself face to face with anything with an exoskeleton or at least 8 legs.

But - not any more! Hallelujah and thank you to the good folks at Terminix, who for the low, low cost of $350/year will ensure you a pest-free existence. Seriously. No joke. Ants, roaches, fleas & ticks, spiders, termites - they spray, they bait, inside, outside - whatever it takes. No limit on how many times a year they show up. You find a spider in the shower? You can call and they'll show up to remove it. Ants searching for food in the kitchen? Put down that can of Raid and call Terminix. They're on the way to take care of the problem. They'll spray the yard for fleas and ticks. Get rid of wasp and bee nests. Whatever. ANYTHING.

How excited am I? I mean - I am almost at a loss for words.

Now I have been warned, that sometimes after the initial treatment, there can be "movement." The insects have been disturbed from their natural habitat and so they look for new places to go - including in the house. However, all I have to do is call my man, and he'll come by and take care of it. After a few more treatments, they have been pushed out of the house, out of the yard and into some other poor person's property.

To me, this is simply the most genius thing ever and I've already programmed Kenny, our Terminix rep, on speed dial.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another Week, Another Idol

Ok - I didn't mean for another week to go by. I swear. I didn't. And it's not because I have nothing to write about. I literally have not had the time. Days are long. Nights seem to slip away. And of course, it's Tuesday which means...

...Rather than write about the two gentlemen on either side of me at the Palm West in NYC this weekend who smothered their perfect Palm steaks with steak sauce (I mean - if that ain't country) or the fact that with 8 you get pasture (i.e. my hooved brood is grazing so much I hardly need to worry about bushhogging), I am going to offer another commentary on AI.

Very briefly:

Syesha is in her element with this Broadway business. When Simon commented that he'd seen more personality tonight than any other, I felt like saying: it's not her personality!! It's the personality of the character she's singing. Anyways, I think she's found her element.

Jason got lucky tonight because...once again, Brooke stumbled. Love her. Love the voice. Pretty sure she'll get a recording contract. But she pretty much sucked tonight.

Nothing to say about David A. Predictable. Everyone will love him I am sure. You know my opinion.

I give ALW a lot of credit for pointing Carly in a better direction than she would have chosen herself (what is it with these contestants and their shitty song choices?). But I think the judges gave Carly too much credit and I predict she'll be in the bottom three.

As for David Cook - he totally earned my respect tonight for singing the song as ALW intended and not trying to rearrange the shit out of it. His vocals were strong, the performance modern and memorable. I totally disagree with Simon's critique.

Meanwhile, missing KLC just a little, but...

if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

American Idol 101

Yikes! Where have I been? Couldn't even tell you. Didn't realize I had let 8 days lapse between posts. And the funny thing is I have been thinking about things I'd like to write about all week - I just haven't executed. I'd blame it on something - like lots of sunny, warm weather or something - but the truth is I think I've probably been just a tad lazy. So sorry for that - especially because I have been doing so well this year (I think) and have avoided any long absences.

Well - this morning I just have to blog about American Idol. I have been thinking about it way more than any normal human probably should and I am hoping that if I can translate the voices in my head on the subject into words on this blog than I'll feel better about the whole thing.

I'll start by flat out saying I pretty much hate all of the remaining finalists. They either bore me or annoy me and for the most part they lack star power and I can tell you right now that whoever wins (and I have a feeling I know who) will give Taylor Hicks a run for his money in the "Worst Idol Ever" category. And I’ll say right now that I was an original Taylor fan and voted for him. Oh well. Hillary Clinton originally voted to invade Iraq. We all make mistakes.

But back to my current Idol discourse. Looking at the remaining 7 contestants, here are my thoughts:

No one annoys me more than Carly, which is sort of a shame because I kind of liked her originally. I felt bad that she made it to Hollywood 2 years ago but then because of visa issues, couldn't stay in the country and missed her shot. I sort of loved that she had to go through the whole process again and that she made it and she does have a very lovely voice. But Carly has 2 - wait, make that 3 - things working against her. Mainly she has no personality. Two, she can't dress worth a shit. And three, she picks terrible songs. I don't understand why these contestants don't pick better songs. Have they not watched this show before? Do they not understand the importance of song choice? It's like the contestants on Hell' Kitchen who don't know how to make beef Wellington. If you are going to audition for that show, spend 8 hours a day for a month perfecting your Wellington techniques because eventually, you are going to have to prepare it in Hell's Kitchen. But back to Carly. No matter how well she sings, whenever she's on stage, I have no connection to her and no interest in what she's singing. I understand why her last album flopped. She'll never be a star.

Ditto for Syesha. Another technically gifted girl. A very pretty face. Pleasing demeanor and all of that. But when she sings, I am like - ok. Who cares. Next please. And once again, I was originally rooting for her. I loved that she sang the hell out of some song during Hollywood week when she had terrible laryngitis. I hated that she was in the bottom 3 in early rounds because I liked her. But courtesy of (once again) poor song choices and lack of personality or star power (she's no diva), I could care less what happens to her. In fact, I hope she goes home next week.

I was a huge fan of David Cook for a while, but then David Cook kind of out-David Cooked himself and I became bored to tears. So David is this year's Chris Daughtry - right? The edgy rocker who gives everything a fresh and modern sound? Well, I hated Daughtry the year he was on because every week he sounded the same and every week everyone loved how original he was. And I was like - ok, it's original once or twice, but 7 weeks running and it starts to lose its flair. That all said, I am now a Daughtry fan, saw him in concert, and have 2 of his songs on my iPod. So there's hope. But for now, with the exception of his totally awesome arrangement of Hello, David Cook is starting to sound repetitive in his song choices and arrangements. And oh yeah, by the way, he's not so original as most of those arrangements have been lifted from other performers.

Now to the other David. David Archuletta. He will most likely win which pains me because he's probably the least Idol-like of the group. It could have something to do with the fact that he can't even shave yet or it could have to do with the fact that he reminds me of rainbows and fairy dust and ice cream sundaes with chocolate and sprinkles and little bunnies hopping through a meadow. The kid is too fricking sweet. And while once again, he's got a great voice, unless he's singing some earnest and sappy ballad, he pretty much sucks. There. I've said it. I hate David Archuletta. Sue me.

As for Jason, I don't totally despise him, but I don't totally like him either. He's got another case of Daughtry in that every week, he comes out, and does the same thing over and over again except instead of rocking out Jason's like the mellow, guitar-strumming kid down the hall in college who you bought weed from. I do give him credit for Hallelujah, which was awesome, and the ukelele version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow which was even awesomer (take that Katherine Mcphee - Hah!) and so for those 2 performances alone, he's not totally dismal.

And then there were two. I'll be honest, I thought that Kristi Lee Cook might be this year's Haley Scarnato. But you know what, I think KLC can actually sing. I recall her audition when she killed it with Amazing Grace. I recall Hollywood week when she needed to pull it out in order to move forward and she did - again with Amazing Grace. And while she had a choppy start and made some poor song choices (we could have all done without her version of 8 Days a Week), I pretty much hate her the least of anyone and kind of hope she goes far. Although she's no Carrie Underwood. Not even close.

Which leaves us with Brooke. And I have to say, that for the most part, I actually like Brooke. I like her voice. I like that she sounds different and that she plays guitar and piano and actually seems like a proper musician. I dislike her earnestness (although she's not nearly as earnest as David A.). And I dislike the fact that she can't take any criticism without offering her own 2 cents on the subject (although most of the time she's agreeing with judges, but still - let them talk, nod, and let's move on). And it sort of freaks me out that she's so pure and good (Hello - never seen an R-rated movie? Not even one?). But for the most part, I like her. I really like her. I don't know if she's got superstar quality and I think she's too folky to be completely mainstream. But at the end of the day, Brooke White has my vote for Idol.

There. The voices in my head have been laid to rest. Now maybe I can go back to sleep (after I let my donkey out of course).

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

On the Other Hand...

So I started off the morning telling you all how proud I was of my little Lucky loo for growing up. I will wrap up the day by telling you how much I miss her.

Marty and I avoided the chaos of Saturday night out in Lincolnton (you think I am joking but I am not - EVERYONE goes out on Fridays and Saturdays) and opted instead for takeout and the Final Four at home. While watching Kansas rip the Tarheels a new one (so sorry Carolina fans...so sorry), I remarked to Marty how much I missed Lucky. While she is a handful - running and jumping on everything, chewing on everything, taking her out to go to the bathroom and then standing around the pasture waiting for her to take her sweet time - she is also sweet, loving and affectionate. In some ways she's more puppy dog than goat and I love when she curls up in my lap, rests her head on my leg, closes her eyes and drifts off into safe, peaceful slumber.

We toyed with bringing her in. One last time and that sort of thing. Marty's argument was that she's still small enough (although just barely) where the whole lapgoat thing works and we won't be able to do it for much longer. I argued against it. She's making major progress getting fully integrated into the herd and life in the pasture and I didn't want to disrupt that progress with a trip in the house.

Marty deferred to me and we would have been fine except I went outside to call for Tony to bring him in for the night and of course Lucky heard/saw me and started crying. And suddenly Marty's argument seemed much more compelling but I stuck to my guns (so unlike me to be so disciplined in matters of the heart), shut the door and decided to write about it instead.

No doubt I love my munchkin very, very much. But she is a goat and her life is outside the house.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

All Grown Up

So the last few days we've had Lucky out in the pasture all day and we've been bringing her in around 10, 10:30pm and letting her sleep in the house. It's been less about feeding her because I've stopped that last night time bottle and more about giving her some quality family time.

But I noticed that bringing her in that late seemed to be doing more harm than good. At that hour she was usually settled in and asleep and my going out there just disrupted the natural herd rhythm. Plus, there was the whole standing around and waiting for her to go to the bathroom before we came in the house and usually a second trip out to the pasture before I put her up in her cage.

So last night we had Mansour over for dinner and afterwards we sat around for a while talking and helping him put together some sample menus for prospective partygoers. By the time he left it was nearly 11pm and even though it was raining, we decided not to bring Lucky in and left her in the pasture. It helped that she wasn't crying, but still, I felt bad because she had been out there through some nasty thunderstorms and I imagine she was scared.

Anyways, we left her outside overnight and this morning I went out there at 7 to give her a bottle. I wasn't sure where she'd sleep since some times the other goats seem to push her to the side. Ann Margaret was against the barn with the boys curled up near her. Elvis was under the picnic table. So were Nugget and Surprise Steve. And there, lying next to Prisey, her best friend and unquestionable partner in crime ever since Peanut and Buster spent one and a half weeks in a stall, was my little Lucky loo. I couldn't have been happier.

My little baby is all grown up.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Like...Um...Who Cares?

Ok - Lots on my mind and lots I want to write about but have to let Dixie out and then get to work so a proper post will have to wait for another time...

BUT....

I could NOT let this one go....

Have Today on in the background and catch an earful early this a.m. about a big musical reunion, right there, live on the Today Show stage.

Ninety minutes later I still have Today on and catch Meredith with the actual big announcement. The band that's reuniting after 15 years? The band I can't wait to see? The reunion I thought would never be?

New Kids on the Block.

Wait - it can't be 15 years. Weren't NKOTB around in the 80s? Like I care. I never listened to them when they were big.

My point is, that suddenly the announcement that Kathie Lee has been taken out of the closet, dusted off, plumped, stretched and pulled to add a dash of star power to the pitiful fourth hour of this never ending show, doesn't seem quite so frightening.

And if that ain't like so totally retro, I'll like so totally kiss your...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April 1st - Kind of a Big Day

So April Fool's tomfoolery aside, April 1st - particularly this year - is kind of a big day and kind of cause to celebrate. For one thing, 12 years ago today, I quit smoking. Eight years ago today, Sebastian was born. 8 weeks and 1 day ago, Lucky, Peanut & Buster were born. Seven weeks ago, Surprise Steve surprised us all with his appearance.

As far as 2008 goes, I don't think that I thought that I could get from February 6th to today. But we did. Certainly we had some hiccups along the way but heading into the second quarter things seem to be heading towards an even keel.

We let Ann-Margaret and the boys out on Friday and Peanut seems to be fine. He's using his leg, running, jumping, grazing, playing - everything a 2-month old goat should be doing. Now all we have to do is get him neutered. And of course, now that they're out, everyone is back to sleeping around the picnic table.

Lucky spends most of her days out in the pasture - even when it's raining. She's also old enough where we can start to think about weaning her. I feel a little bad because she's still a kid and she still likes being with her mom (me) and when she's out in the pasture - she doesn't get that while the other kids have their moms. But she's also getting a little big and rowdy to be in the house for too long. Plus, there are some bathroom issues. I will spare you the details but needless to say, I think that Lucky is not so much house-broken as she is exceptionally well monitored. In general, I know when she needs to go out, how long to wait after feedings, etc. but every once in a while - as was the case last night - she surprises us all and let's just say it's not fun.

So while the rest of you get in touch with your inner Ashton Kutcher, I am going to celebrate everything else that is so wonderful about this day.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...