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Thursday, February 23, 2006

American Hunk

Can I just say that there is an awfully good lookin' bunch of men appearing on American Idol this year??? I'm not a diehard American Idol fan, but I enjoy a good competition, especially if it involves musical talent. However, all musical talent aside, I'm voting to rename the competition, American Hunk.

In honor of my imaginary competiton, I give you the Top 7 Countdown of American Hunk:

7) The Fixer-Upper: At first glance, many a gal may run the other direction when confronted with the redneck mustache, weaseling around on Bucky Covington's face. But alas, there is hope. Lose the facial hair and whack a couple of inches off the straggly mane, and I think we might have a hunk on our hands. Too bad he won't advance far enough in the competition for the makeovers to begin...

6) The Sleeper Stud: Ok, so his haircut is a little Jim Carrey-esque, i.e. Dumb and Dumber, but Elliott Yamin is solid in the running for American Hunk. He just looks like a nice, sensitive guy. Tack those ears back and shave off that thuggish beard and we might just have a winner.

5) The Grinnin' Fool: How can you not find this cutie-patootie attractive??? Gedeon McKinney's grin alone gets me hook, line and sinker. His look is very mature for a 17-year-old.

4) The Rat Packer: He's a little young, but David Radford has that cavalier-like charm endemic to crooner greats such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. And he's just generally handsome, in a prom king sort of way. Or he will be when he hits puberty. He's the Zach Morris of the competition...with dark hair.

3) The John Mayer Wannabe: The kid is just 16, but Will Makar is already well on his way to hunkiness. Does anyone else see a resemblance to the pop-blues crooner that likes to refer to my body as a "Wonderland?" Somebody get this kid a guitar!

2) The Angst-ridden Skinhead: In an episode of Seinfeld called The Cadillac Part 2, Marisa Tomei says to George Costanza, "So, tell me, how is it that a man like you, so bald, and so quirky and funny, how is it you're not taken?" I don't know if Chris Daughtry is taken or not, but he's a perfect example of why bald is muy bueno.

And the drumroll, please....

1) The Man That Needs No Explanation: Ace Young. Yes, please. Seconds? I insist. I'm not too full for thirds. Can I take him home??? I've never had the desire to actually vote for a contestant on American Idol, but this year, that may change. I don't care what he sounds like....just give me more!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Always Marry an April Girl

I just found out that Bobbi Brown is introducing another one of her famed Shimmer Brick Compacts for Spring! And what a better name for it than Peony??? It's got some pinky-orange-corals that are really gettin' me in the mood for March.

Speaking of adding some color to my life, I spent some time at MySpace yesterday updating, well, my space. It's now a lovely shade of leaf green, my favorite color. And I really (heart) the polka dots too. Polka dots remind me of spring.

I'm ready for spring. If we're basing the four seasons off twelve months of weather patterns, spring begins at the first of March, even though it doesn't officially commence until March 20th. I bet some of you never thought you would hear from me, "I am ready for winter to end." But I am. God blessed us with some snow that stuck around past 10:30 a.m. and I had my snow day. So now, it's time to move on.

I like spring because of the fun holidays it boasts, like St. Patrick's Day, April Fool's Day, Tax Day, Cinco de Mayo, Easter, Mother's Day and Memorial Day. Plus, my birthday is April 12. That alone makes spring worthwhile. And this birthday is a very important one...I turn middle age.

Spring signifies new beginnings. It sounds New-Agey, but I'm ready for a positive change in my life, whether it be in my dating relationships, work or whatever. It's different than New Year's resolutions. I decide my New Year's resolutions. The changes I'm talking about are things I don't have a lot of control over. These changes require me to be patient and wait for God's plan to unfold, while being obedient in the "land under my feet."

I'll just come right out and say it... I want a boyfriend, dadgummit!

I'll leave you with one of my favorite poems. It's titled, Always Marry an April Girl, by Ogden Nash. Maybe one of yous or one of yours will be inspired to ask for my hand in marriage.

Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true --
I love April, I love you.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Not too Shabby...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Isaiah 55:8-9

Yesterday was a bit of an odd day. It didn't start off very well for me, but that was simply because I got up on the wrong side of the bed. My attitude started out poorly, even though Jack always comes in, crawls on top of me and purrs like a freight train.

I've allowed a lot of things to bother me over the past couple of weeks with relationships, my job situation and uncertainty about the future. I haven't been motivated to get in the Word this week, much less to pray. Satan is warring with me this week, yet God has consistently wrapped His arms around me and attended to my soul anyway.

So yesterday morning I'm on the way to work and I'm listening to the 107.5 The River morning show with Woody and Jim. I don't often listen to the radio in the car, but after listening to my Kings of Convenience cd for something like the 15th time, and being too lazy to put another cd in, I switched on the radio. And I'm glad I did. The station played a clip from Wednesday night's American Idol, where a contestant named Mandisa Hundley confronts Simon for a nasty comment he made about her weight during the preliminary auditions.

I wish I could find the entire transcript of Mandisa's confrontation of Simon on the Internet, but I haven't been able to locate it. Basically, she told Simon he hurt her and that it made her cry, but she forgives him. She wanted him to know that Christ died upon the cross to save her from her sins and that since He showed her that grace, she could certainly extend that grace to Simon.

Upon hearing this, I burst into tears. Literally. If it's possible for one to burst into tears, I did just that. I was incredibly moved by Mandisa's extension of compassion. So often on American Idol we see the curses, the finger, the temper tantrums, the threats and hate in general when contestants are rejected or made fun. And it makes for good television. I applaud Mandisa for her kindness and I know she will be blessed for it.

The Lord knew that I would need words of encouragement yesterday. I found out a little after noon on Thursday that my Mamaw has been placed back in the hospital with the flu and pneumonia. When they got her there, they determined that her heart rate was too fast (over 100) and so they sent her to cardiac.

Some of you know the saga of health concerns with my Mamaw since Memorial Day weekend of 2005. She's 87 years old and as healthy as a horse, but can't catch a break. In May she suffered from an aortic tear in her heart and was life flighted down to Birmingham from Jackson, TN to UAB's cardiac center. After going through very risky surgery, she was in recovery and choked on a piece of food and some iced tea and fluid entered her lungs. What should have been a fairly quickly recovery process became months and months of time spent in fairly critical condition. My mom and other family members lived the majority of last summer in Birmingham. It was a very hard time on my family, especially on my mom.

Mamaw steadily improved and was transferred up to Vanderbilt for rehab. I treasure that time that she was in town because I got to see her on my lunch break everyday. I saw her more times last fall that I probably have in my entire life since Mamaw lives in Jackson. She gained strength and health after a few months at Vanderbilt and then was transferred back to Jackson where she fully recovered in the hospital there. As of Wednesday, she was living in an assisted living establishment in Jackson and I think she was finally beginning to warm up to her surroundings.

I talked to her for a little while on the phone on Valentine's Day and she sounded like her old self. The old Mamaw. She'd been given several different roses and goodies by members of her church and friends and I think her spirits were high despite not feeling very well. So it came to me as kind of a shock that she is back in the hospital. I don't really know what to do with this information aside from pray. Part of me wants to believe that the Lord doesn't take us through the fire just to hang us out to dry after we're out. It's very difficult to watch your family go through this with so much uncertainty.

As I said before though, God really does know how to remind me that my hope is in Him. Yesterday afternoon I received a letter from my two little girls I sponsor from Moldova, Angela and Ana Vieru. I was in the middle of typing an email to my family to send them photos of Angela and Ana when I checked my email and poof! I had received another email from the girls! It wasn't anything long or elaborate, but here tis:

Dear Mary Anna,
I love you very much and not just me but my sister Angela too. I am so glad you loved me and I promise you not to forget you,
Ana and Angela Vieru

Moral of the story: God cares. About the big things and about the little things. Yesterday wasn't a great day, but I'm confident in an omnipotent God who is my creator, my comforter and the ultimate navigator!

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Isaiah 55:8-9

Monday, February 13, 2006

O' Snow, why do you mock me so?

It's very obvious that I'm the mouse in the relationship. The weather is the cat. It toys with me. Endlessly. And just when I think I've got the upperhand, it slaps its paw down on my tail and drags me backwards.

Friday afternoon, I let myself get caught up in the blizzard-like predictions for Middle Tennessee. At one point, our weather gurus were promising up to seven inches of accumulation. I cancelled travel plans. I stocked up on milk, bread and batteries. I waited. And waited. And then waited some more. I must have looked out the window 50 times between the hours of 7 p.m. and midnight on Friday. Aside from the rain drizzle, no other precip was gracing my presence.

I went to bed on Friday night expecting to wake up in a wintry wonderland. I didn't have to be anywhere until later on Saturday morning, but I nonetheless woke up at 7:15 a.m. to greet the blizzard of Feb. '06. I was rather shocked when I opened the blinds and saw grass with only a light dusting of snow. Talk about disappointment. Evidently, a random gulf breeze blew upwards overnight and frightened the snow clouds into submission. I got in the shower to get ready for the Valentine's Day Brunch and by the time I was done toweling off, the sun was already melting the snow.

It spit snow much of the rest of the weekend. And while it was pretty in the air, it never amounted to much on the ground. I'm still holding out for a big snow. One that doesn't melt by ten a.m. and that slows things down for a bit. I'm keeping the faith, but I don't know how much more of this mockery I can take...

Anyway, the dashing men of the Singles Focus class at BBC hosted a Valentine's Day Brunch for the lovely ladies of the Singles Focus class on Saturday morning. They attended to our every need, from valet parking, to cooking us a gourmet meal, to arranging for massages, to showering us with gifts. It makes being single feel like something special.

Here's a shot of the gals pretending to be Harlequin damsels:

On another note, I'm looking forward to the 2nd Annual Chocapalooza at the Penthouse tonight. All of the chocolate goodies one can imagine with a gangle of my closest gal pals.

Which brings me to my next ponderance... Why are there so many beautiful, dynamic and intelligent single women who don't have a Valentine? Guys? Can ya tell me why???

I mean, look at the above photo.... There's Lisa--she's all about the outdoors and actually likes to camp! Then there's Amanda--she is such a witty blogger! Emily--she invests her time in caring for and loving orphans in a foreign country! Mandy--seriously one of the sweetest, most genuine persons I've ever met! And Ashley--this girl has some serious brains!

Lana, Sarah and Rhonda don't get a shout-out. They have men that have finally understood what's so great about them. And these men understand that they need to snap them up while the gettin's good.

So, for the time being, we'll be gorging ourselves on chocolate and Chocolat tonight at the Penthouse. Honestly, even if I had a Valentine, I don't know that I would be willing to give this up!

Wednesday, February 8, 2006


I had a root canal yesterday. For the second time. On the same tooth. Basically, I sprouted an extra root and so they had to go back in. Not my idea of a fun day, but I sure did have a fun evening last night with the Hydrocodone the endodontist prescribed me!

I left work yesterday as the numbness in the right side of my face was beginning to wear off. For a little while there, I looked as if my face were melting silly putty. I was a bit droopy. So I headed to the grocery store to fill my prescription. I had to wait twenty minutes so I killed that time in the makeup section and the ice-cream aisle. I don't normally keep ice cream in my freezer at home because it's a stumbling block for me. In other words, it wouldn't stay in my freezer long. But last night I needed that ice cream. Something else I purchased needed that ice cream. And that folks, was Marie Callender's Apple Crumble Pie.

You see, it was necessary for me to purchase this pie. I had major surgery on a tooth so I couldn't and wouldn't dare to eat hard or crunchy foods. I was forced to eat this pie. Otherwise, i might have starved to death.

Anyway, I got home and put the pie in the oven, popped a happy pill, and sat down on the couch to knit. Evidently Hydrocodone doesn't take long to work because American Idol was the funniest thing I've ever seen in my entire life. And to my joy and rapture, my pie was ready as soon as the show was over!

While I may often wax ecstatic about fine food and dessert, this experience was different. The apples in this pie were perfectly seasoned and incredibly fresh and crisp! And halfway through the baking time, you sprinkle this brown sugar crumble mixture on top of the pie for added delight. Top it off perfectly with a scoop of Blue Bell's Homemade Vanilla ice cream. I had not one, but two foodgasms. What can I say? I went back for seconds!

Granted, it could have been the Hydrocodone, but I was in a rather euphoric mood last night. One of my favorite television shows, "$40 a day" of the Food Network, was broadcasting the episode where Rachael Ray eats Amsterdam. Her first stop for the day was the "Cafe de Prins," along the Prinsengracht Canal (Princes Canal), for breakfast. I've eaten at the Cafe de Prins. I ate there last September when I was in Amsterdam on official Adtec business. I dined at a lovely table alongside the canal for lunchtime. I can remember thinking that I better be careful or I will topple into the canal. They don't have fences or any kind of barriers along the canals to keep you from falling in. Anyway, seeing Rachael Ray enjoy Cafe de Prins reminded me of what I enjoy so much about Amsterdam---leisure. Something about that city is so amazingly inspiring, which is ironic because it's a city of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. Regardless, I can remember the liberating feeling of sitting alone at that restaurant, reading my travel guides and not wanting to be anywhere else at that very moment.

Monday, February 6, 2006

Sometimes, You Just Don't Need to Defend Yourself.

Saturday night, I went to the movie theater to see "End of the Spear" with Emily, Jen Gash and Brian. "End of the Spear" is based on the violent history of the Waodani, an indigenous tribe found in the jungles of Ecuador. A group of Christian missionaries move to Ecuador in the mid-1950s to attempt to reverse the tribe's cycle of violence. Nate Saint, is one of the initial missionaries to establish contact with the tribe, only to be murdered in cold blood by Mincayani, a Waodani leader.

Nate Saint has a son named Steve Saint. Nate is about to depart for a risky and lengthy stay with the tribe, Steve asks his father if he will use his gun to shoot the Waodani if they attack. Nate replies that he won't---the Waodani have not reconciled their souls with God yet. Later in the film, Nate and the missionary team are attacked by the Waodani and when one missionary finally scrambles for his gun, he shoots it up in the air, not at any of the Waodani. All of the men on the mission were speared to death, however, doors were opened for future interaction with the Waodani.

I've carried this scene of the movie home with me. The sacrifice that Nate Saint and the other missionaries made mirrored the sacrifice that Christ made for every human being on this earth. Christ could have easily hopped down off the cross and sent out lightning bolts from his fingertips at all of his persecutors. But He didn't. He chose to die for us so that if we accept Him, we may experience everlasting life.

Later on in the movie, a grown-up Steve Saint, returns to Ecuador and the Waodani tribe to pay his respects at the burial of his Aunt Rachel, also a missionary. While he is there, he encounters Mincayani. Mincayani tells Steve that he in fact is the one that murdered his father and he has been tormented all these years by why Nate and the other missionaries didn't fight back. Waodani custom is that the eldest son is responsible for enacting vengeance on the person that killed his father. Mincayani gives Steve a spear and tells him to kill him. Although Steve is incredibly enraged, he drops the spear. Mincayani is forever changed and is finally able to understand true sacrificial love.

I have been reading the book of Daniel in the Bible during my quiet times in the evening. Last night I read chapter three, with "End of the Spear" on my mind. In chapter three, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar because they would not bow down to the golden idol he had created. It is a story I heard at least a hundred times growing up, but God revealed a new truth in the passage to me:

"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.'" Daniel 3:16

It instantly became clear to me that God is not always calling me to question, argue or debate with those who don't share my faith. I struggle with this, partially because I am confrontational by nature and quite frankly, I like to be right. Anyway, it was a reminder that just as Christ showed sacrificial love, I'm also called to the same.

All-in-all, the movie was pretty good and even funny, despite a few slow parts. But I left inspired and encouraged, albeit emotional. "End of the Spear" is definitely not a movie you want to see for entertainment or cinematic acclaim. But I promise that you will leave the theater uplifted and a renewed sense of Christ's sacrifice.

On a side note, be advised that the movie is somewhat controversial in the conservative-Christian community because the lead role of Nate/Steve Saint was played by openly homosexual, Chad Allen. Take that for what you will, but it is guaranteed to spark some interesting discussion amongst the ranks...

Friday, February 3, 2006


It may all lie in superstition, but I could not be happier that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yesterday. I love winter and I want all thirteen weeks of it, thankyouverymuch!

There's just something about winter that makes me happy. I can't decide if it's the brisk air, the fun scarves I get to knit and wear, or the need for a crackling fire, a hot cup of tea and a good book. And of course, the snow.

I remember when I was a child and we would receive tons of snow and ice throughout the winter. There was the big Ice Storm of 1993 when my brother and I didn't have to go to school for a week. We didn't have electricity at the house for most of the week and I can remember huddling under 14 blankets (it was a competition for my Ben and I) when I went to bed. Despite all of the traffic problems and dangerous conditions it caused, our county looked like a fantasy land. There was also a big snow storm in Tennessee back in the late seventies, before I was born. My mom was a Kindergarten teacher at the time and they closed school the entire month of February.

Unfortunately, Tennessee doesn't have much, if any, severe winter weather anymore. We've had some lame attempts at flurries so far, but no significant accumulation. On top of it, our temperatures have become unseasonably warm. We had the tenth warmest January on record this year, with highs in the 50s and 60s. The tide may be turning though because it looks like temperatures are leveling back out to normal. Flurries have been predicted for tonight and a couple of times in the upcoming week. We'll see what happens...

If you've known me for any iota of time, you know that I have a deep love for four distinct and defined seasons. Watching the changes in weather throughout the year alone are fascinating enough, but the fact that Tennessee is one of the most beautiful places to watch the changing of the guard makes it all worthwhile.

Anyway, I really appreciate that overweight groundhog seeing his shadow. Let it snow!

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Crash Test Dummy

One of these days I'm going to get pulled over. It won't be for speeding. It won't be for failing to signal. And it certainly won't be because I'm not wearing my seatbelt.

The day I get pulled over is the day I am driving illegally in the HOV lane.

I drive the I-65 stretch from Franklin to Nashville every day on my commute to work. Typically, living on the southside of town is great because of the superb traffic flow, numerous lanes for one to utilize, and the abundance aggressive drivers. Aggressive drivers suit me, because I consider myself one. I drive defensively, always aware of what's going on around me, while at a safe, but not turtle-like pace. I'm in control of my vehicle and I expect others to mirror that control in their own vehicles.

Anyway, back to the HOV lane. During mornings of a wreck or other rubber-necking cause, I see a thousand cars lined up bumper-to-bumper in the non-HOV lanes. I look ahead of me along the rolling hills of interstate and I see a vacant HOV lane. What.a.waste.

HOW IS THIS EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT POLICY??? Seriously---if no one is using the HOV lane because we're all SUV-loving pollutants who don't like to carpool, how is that cutting down on traffic congestion? While I think the theory behind the HOV lane is noble, it remains a theory, at least here in middle Tennessee. The darn lane causes even more congestion, if you ask me.

So each morning, I boldly merge into the HOV lane right past the exit at Moore's Lane. You have to wait until you pass Moore's Lane because there is a break and an overlap in the concrete divider in the center of the interstate. The po-po notoriously hides there. Past that point, it's free-sailing HOV until right past the Old Hickory Blvd exit. There's a blind curve, and many a morning, the po-po has been stationed right around it to specifically flag down HOV criminals. When there's a wreck in the area and traffic is already moving slow, you can pretty much guarantee the po-po will be waiting. I've almost gotten caught in this trap several times. In fact, the closest time I escaped a steep fine, the car in front of me got waved over. I was able to fanagle my car at the last second back into the lane to the right. After you pass this checkpoint, you're pretty much home-free. The HOV lane becomes just another lane at 100 Oaks. And then the road turns into six lanes and it's wonderful!

This morning I'm on the phone with a friend of mine and, as usual, I'm complaining about the HOV lane and the po-po. He suggests I buy one of those dummies you can put in your passenger seat to look like you are traveling with another human being. You've seen them...they're always for sale in those airplane magazines full of electronic gadgets and other junk that's supposed to make your life easier, but you quite frankly just don't need. If I wasn't honest gal, I'd say that the thoughts of purchasing a dummy had never crossed my mind. The only thing that's kept me from doing so are the thoughts of getting pulled over and having to explain to the police officer why I have a fake person sitting next to me.

I don't really expect TDOT to scrape up all of those white diamonds littered along the HOV lane anytime soon, but I have no plans to reform my incorrigible ways...

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

In the Beginning

You've heard the rumors, and they're all true. I've officially joined the ranks of the "blogeois," as in the customary Internet journalist whose industrious attempts and proprietorial conquest results in the quintessential blog. I give you, "The Queen MAB Manifesto."

Anyway, the "Queen MAB" connection was made my freshman year of high school, the first time I read "The Tragedy of Romeo & Juliet" composed by none other than Sir William Shakespeare. Queen Mab was mentioned in one of Mercutio's famous speeches as a fairy galloping through lovers' brains so they dream of love. Seeing as how my initials are M.A.B., the nickname stuck.

Heaven forbid I ever get married and have to change my last name to something that doesn't start with the letter B. "Queen MAD" or "Queen MAN" don't really do it for me. On the other hand, "Queen MAC" rings quite nicely. Maybe M-A-C Cosmetics or Apple might be willing to negotiate endorsement deals. Complimentary Lipglass? Why, thank you! An Ipod and unlimited downloads for life? You shouldn't have!

Throw in the token reference to Marxist theory (no, I am not a Commie) and "The Queen MAB Manifesto" is born. I realize that by joining the blogging ranks that I subject myself to gratuitous grammatical corrections and snarky comments. It's all par for the course. I draw inspiration from friends in the "blogeois," Amanda and Emily, who handle themselves so gracefully in the blogging realm. It's no lie that I have a lot to live up to.

So begins my new blog. Ne nuntium necare.

P.S. Any eligible bachelors out there with a last name beginning with the letter C? I'm currently accepting resumes. Qualifications are that you breathe independently. Definite room for growth, possibly achieving husband status...

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