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Friday, April 21, 2006

Viva Las Vegas!

The Queen MAB Manifesto is officially on a week-long hiatus begining today. I will be in Las Vegas on official company business and a little personal business as well. My days will be spent inside the walls of a convention center, but my nights will be filled with bright lights, great food and couture shopping (last time I checked, I don't gamble and prostitution really isn't my thing). Never fear, Queen MAB will return in May with a Vegas recap.
And P.S. Vegas has two very large Sephora stores!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Menagerie Does C-Town

Top Row L-to-R: Tina, Grace, Rachel, MA, Courtney, Ashley.
Bottom Row L-to-R: Katie, Ginny, Amy, Christa.

Although this post is way overdue, it definitely has not been forgotten about. Two weekends ago, the Menagerie embarked on a much-needed weekend away in Chattanooga for some spa pampering, food indulging and a lot of laughter. One Christmas, we decided that it would be more beneficial for us to get together for a weekend away rather than to spend money on Christmas and Birthday presents for nine other people. I'm so glad we made that decision because this weekend was so much fun!

It sure didn't start out without drama though. Because we are all in different locations (Franklin, Tn; Murfreesboro, Tn; Lawrenceburg, Tn; Dalton, Ga; Atlanta, Ga; Arlington, Tx; Tampa, Fl), we carefully coordinated flight and driving arrangements to maximize our time together. With the inclement weather a concern and standby-status on flights, I thought we'd never actually get down to Chattanooga. In the end, it all worked out fine, but involved me picking up Christa's suitcase at BNA while she arrived in Atlanta.

Tina, Court and I were the first to arrive and had to wait in the parking lot on Amy and Rachel, because Ames had the hotel reservations. While we're waiting, Court finally is able to get in touch with Amy by phone and reports back to Tina and I, "they'll be here in about 6 to 10 minutes!" Of course, Tina and I are rolling by this point. Only Court would generalize and throw in a random number. Trust me, this was the first of many "Court-isms" of the weekend. (And Lana, if you're reading, Court is your incarnate!)

Amy and Rach pull in (within 6 to 10 minutes) and we all pile out of the car and the reunion begins. At the mention of having to be sneaky about how many people were going to occupy the hotel room, Court says, "we'll just tell them we go to UTC!" meaning, we'll pretend that our friends have come down to C-town for the weekend to visit us college kids. Laughter quickly ensued, and already I'm making not-so-mental notes about blog fodder.

We get checked into the hotel suite and realize that it's going to suit our needs nicely. Friday evening we ate at Big River Grill in downtown Chattanooga and had a nice stroll around downtown, opting against the ghetto booty clubs and biker bars before heading back to the hotel. On the way back, a quick stop at the liquor store for a bottle of wine yields a funny sight, with our checker wearing a cheesy, gold-plated chain with a gold-plated handgun charm hanging down his chest. After Court acquires a corker from behind the counter at a sketchy gas station, Tina tries to cork the bottle of red wine and ends up pushing the cork down through the neck, spraying red wine all over the sheets and the 12-foot ceiling. She then informs us that when she and Patrick lived in Birmingham, she also sprayed red wine on the ceiling this way. Tina's two-for-two! We crashed soon after, in anticipation for a big Saturday at the spa.

I lucked out and was in the spa late-shift, getting to stay in bed until after nine, while half of the group headed out to the spa. We all met up for lunch at Panera downtown and the second-shift spa treatments began at two.

I have to give kudos to the Natural Body spa in downtown Chattanooga for being so kind as to accommodate ten giggling girls. We were allowed to move from room-to-room and keep each other company while we were indulging in manicures and pedicures.

While Christa was getting a pedicure, we were talking about some of the gals weddings and the funny things that happened at each. Rachel brings up one of our favorite classic moments, "Sharon & Lola," two of Christa's flamboyant family members that showed up at her wedding. Sharon and Lola burst in wearing matching bright purple sequin dresses from the 80s, gold shoes and bright purses, in addition to quite a bit of makeup and big, teased hair. While Sharon and Lola were nice ladies I'm sure, they became a running joke between the ten of us.

Anyway, Rachel makes a comment about how she thought I gave Lola the nickname, because she'd thought it was so wacky. Christa informed us that Lola was, in fact, her name and we had another good laugh at the situation. In the meantime, Christa leaves the room to go have her massage. It's Rachel's turn next for a pedicure and I'm sitting in the room with her, when the nail technician looks at Rachel, while tearing up, and says, "you know, I heard yall talking about the name Lola---that's my mother's name and she passed about a year ago." Well of course, Rachel and I are mortified at that point...Rach moreso because she was the one who made fun of the Lola name. I stifled laughter while Rachel tries to explain to the nail technician that she thought Lola was a pretty name...

After refreshing ourselves at the spa, we traveled to The Chop House for dinner. On the way there, I treated Ash and Rach to an over-the-top dance I made up to Natasha Bedingfield's Unwritten. Ask me and I'll show it to you too! Amy, are you having flashbacks to R.Kelly's Drive Remix at Daytona 03?

Later in the evening, we all sat around and discussed our struggles and our expectations for each other. It was a very productive time and I can see the Lord is blessing our friendship. One of the things I love so much about these girls is that I can laugh with them one minute, engage in intelligent political discussion with them the next, and then have a listening ear while I shed tears the next. I seriously love these girls.

Over dinner at Big River on Friday night, we reminicsed about our group and its not-so-humble beginnings, when someone brought up our legacy. Evidently, the Alpha (pledge) class before us and after us, as well as the current ADPi chapter, knows about the Menagerie and that we take trips and keep in touch regularly. I don't know that any of us realized what freaks we are for still keeping in touch the way we do. We are very close and email and call on a regular basis, despite living far from each other. It requires effort to maintain the friendship, but somehow, we make it work. Court, with another one of her -ism's, said, "They're all sitting at home wishing they were us!" While it's totally arrogant, it makes me proud and thankful for my gals.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

18 years

Today is my spiritual birthday and I just now realized it. Well, technically, it's the day I celebrate my spiritual birthday. I was baptized on April 16, 1988, but I accepted Christ several days beforehand. It's mind-blowing to think that I've had a personal relationship with Chist for 18 years. Whoa.

Anyway, I just realized it. And today is Easter. Interesting how my priorities aren't exactly what they should be right now. Praise the Lord for sending Christ to not only die on the cross but to raise from the dead and live forever in my heart. While it's a shame that I don't always make Christ a priority in my life, I am redeemed by the blood. I don't live up to a bunch of standards or priorities I must fulfill because Christ died for me, the chief of sinners. Amen to that, or as a wise man once said, "True."

I'm a little down tonight. My week-long birthday party culminated today with the birthday cake mom served after Easter lunch. So now, the celebration has ended and reality begins. I'm 25. What do I do now?

To be honest though, I have much more on my mind right now than my quarter-life crisis.

I'm currently faced with the possibility of ending a long-time friendship. I'm preoccupied with the battle going on inside of my head. What happens when someone you care deeply about hurts you? And what if it's not for the first time, but it's one of many times, and this time, it's worse than it's ever been before? It sounds like an easy answer but it's not. When you invest time, energy, laughter, tears, hope and love into a person, it's never easy to just toss it in the garbage can.

Funny, it seems like to me that there is a perfect man in my life that invests in me, yet I constantly fall short...

I need to learn how to set boundaries. A fault of mine is that I throw myself no-holds-barred into relationships of all kinds and then when the person lets me down, I'm crushed. Mom and Dad constantly warned me of this when I was growing up. Dad even went as far as to remind me that people are always going to let you down, so don't allow your happiness rest on your expectations of them.

But regardless of whether or not I set boundaries, what do I do with this relationship? I've offered forgiveness, so that's not an issue. But do I continue to allow this personto be an active part of my life? Am I setting myself up for more hurt? I wish it would just go away so I don't have to deal with it...


Ya, so back to my spiritual birthday... I have a friendship that will never fail me, and that is my relationship with Christ. Perhaps I'll talk to him tonight about failed relationships, expectations, boundaries and codependency. I'm positive that if I seek Him, I'll have direction and peace. What more could a gal ask for???

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

25 Little Known Facts about Queen MAB

In honor of my 25th birthday today, I give you 25 Little Known Facts about Queen MAB. Enjoy!

25) I prefer bananas when they are solid green.

24) I have a slight addiction to cosmetics and beauty products, especially lip gloss.

23) I talk in my sleep. In fact, I’ve been told that you can carry on a conversation with me when I’m asleep.

22) I am politically conservative with Libertarian tendencies.

21) I could eat cereal every meal of the day for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. Especially if it involves Cheerios.

20) I don’t want Lasik eye surgery because I like wearing my “Lisa Loeb” glasses. They’re an accessory!

19) I love the smell of antique stores.

18) When I was four, I colored my tongue with a blue magic marker because I didn’t want to take a nap. My mom had to call poison control to make sure I didn’t die.

17) I like to organize everything, even the cans of food in my pantry.

16) Sometimes I buy books only because I like the cover art.

15) I like to take long, exploratory drives out in the country by myself with no destination and no timetable.

14) I love the little sound explosion an orange makes when you pull it apart by two thumbs.

13) My tonsils are the size of ping pong balls. No joke.

12) I love office supplies. I liked to play office and pretend I was a secretary when I was growing up.

11) I don’t floss. Ever.

10) I like to go to a matinee movie alone.

9) I’m deathly afraid of cockroaches. Not because they are an insect, but because they carry disease.

8) I’ve used the same mascara brand since the eighth grade (Cover Girl's Remarkable Waterproof in Black-Brown). Why change a good thing?

7) I notice insignificant details. And I’m more fascinated by them than the big picture.

6) Even though I own a state-of-the-art digital camera, I still prefer my 35 mm SLR Canon Rebel hands down.

5) I’m an alumnae of Alpha Delta Pi, yet I still have an insatiable desire to flash the “secret sign” whenever I see a fellow ADPi on the road.

4) When Good Morning America does a particularly heart-wrenching news segment, I shed a few tears, even to the point of having to re-do my eye makeup.

3) Occasionally on my lunch break at work, I’ll go to East Nashville and shop at the “Simply Fashion” or the “Fashion Cents.” The clothes are made in Taiwan and aren’t designed or marketed for my demographic, but I still find some really cute deals!

2) I love the Chicago Cubs more than anything, but I secretly don’t want them to ever win another world series. I don’t want a bunch of people jumping on the Cubbie bandwagon and disrespecting the rich tradition of the baseball club.

And the number one little known fact about Queen MAB:

1) I really love the dictionary. I have the same affinity for the thesaurus. I read them both for fun. I’ve been known to carry them around in my purse for emergency word crises.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Queen MAB's New Haircut

The Cubmobile & Its Evil Twin

Yes, I freaked out too.

My co-worker, Desiree, and I were traveling to Firestone yesterday to pick up my car, where I was having an oil change and my quarterly rotate, balance and align. We are waiting at a stoplight about a block away from the Firestone and I glance over and see my car, sitting in the parking lot, with a MASSIVE dent in the back passenger-side door. Desiree sees it about the same time and we simultaneously start screaming exclamations out the window. "Oh my gosh-oh my gosh-oh my gosh they wrecked my car!!!!!!" For a full two minutes, we sit at that light, wide-eyed, shocked and as Desiree is turning left into the Firestone parking lot, I look at the car and wheels begin to turn inside my head.

"Wait a minute---where is my Cubs front license plate?" I ask. Then it hits me. This car is not the Cubmobile. I scan the rest of the parking lot and over in the opposite corner, amongst a row of cars, stands the Cubmobile, proud and dent-free.

Upon this realization, Desiree and I burst out in laughter and thankfully, I have my camera in my purse to capture the drama. Rest assured, the photo of the car above is not the Cubmobile, but it's evil twin that evidently lives in East Nashville.

Mission Self-Tan: Volume One

I finally got to the store on Sunday to buy a self-tanner, despite wanting to eradicate my pasty complexion for about a month. I made a list of all of your recommendations, but ended up settling on a self-tanner no one had recommended, Dove Energy Glow Daily Moisturizer with Subtle Self-Tanners. I was swayed for a number of reasons. I love Dove's line of beauty and body care products. The bottle was attractive. The lotion itself exhibited a silky feel and had a pleasant smell in the bottle. I also purchased Neutrogena Build-a-Tan Gradual Sunless Tanning Face SPF 15. I currently use Neutrogena facial products and have always been pleased with the quality of ingredients and the results.

So later that evening, I completed my first application and I was very pleased with the immediate results. The lotion is not too thick and was an ease to apply to my legs, arms and chest, without feeling like I was missing places. It dried fairly quickly and didn't rub off onto my towel or robe. A couple of hours later though, I started to detect a faint odor of self-tanner. And it grew stronger as the night wore on. And after my fourth day of application (today), I reek.

I am however, very pleased with the Neutrogena. It dries quickly, is oil-free and contains SPF. It's taking longer to build the tan on my face, but it's more gradual and natural, which I prefer. What more could a girl ask for?

After I run out of this bottle of Dove, I'm going to try something else. Maybe I'm just overly sensitive to the self-tanner smell. They all probably smell like that. Anyway, I'd rate the experiment fairly successful and I can have my bronze aura without the fake-n-bake. At least I won't look like an old bag when I'm 30...

Here's to hoping "April showers brings May flowers"

I have obviously been a bit neglectful of my blog the past couple of days. I've been rather busy at work and in my personal life. Good thing I don't have a child. I'd probably forget to feed it. Did I mention that I have a cat and he has a self-feeder for a reason?

Anyway, I will once again enlist the help of the Queen MAB faithful. I'm asking for your accountability.

Sunday afternoon, I purchased a plethora of blooming flowers and plants to ring in Spring, Queen MAB-style. I spent all afternoon with my spade and potting soil, creating potted homes for my perennials. I must say, I'm a bit proud of my handiwork.

However, my history with growing, leafy, budding objects isn't the best. I have what you call, a black thumb. I tend to kill my flowers and plants. I either don't water them at all or I water them too much. This time, I'm making a concerted effort to be a good mother.

Welcome my new bundles of joy to the world!

From top L to far R: Christmas Tree; Tiger Eyes Viola; Hen & Chicken (Sempervivum); Salmon Sunblaze Miniature Rose; Revolution Series Gerbera Daisy; Gazania; French Marigold; China Pink Flora Lace Dianthus; Patriot Bright Red Geranium; Sorbet Blue Heaven Viola; Candy Lavender Geranium; Lusaka Variegated Osteopermum; Spring Mix.

V for Vehiculum

Saturday night, I went to the late movie to see V for Vendetta with Sarah, Amanda and Lisa. I have mixed emotions about the movie, but the more I think about it, the more I'm leaning toward overall distaste. I take most of the blame because I should have done my research. Going into the movie, I was expecting an action-thriller with a side of politics. Instead, I left the theater feeling as if I'd just had a political agenda shoved down my throat.

Before I begin, let me throw in a disclaimer about my politics. I have conservative roots and foundation, yet I sway slightly toward libertarian philosophy, with exceptions. I am not easily offended by differing political viewpoints and social issues, however I do have strong opinions about my own.

I appreciate the thematic elements of the movie. V for Vendetta certainly challenged a school of thought. The society V fights for is one where people are free to live and practice as they choose. It doesn't censor media and entertainment. As a conservative, even I can appreciate that kind of tolerance. Laissez faire is noble, indeed. And I did find quite a bit of merit in the concept that ideas don't die easily.

Unfortunately, overtly religious politics and social agenda overshadowed the theme.

Christianity was closely associated with the totalitarian government in the movie. The symbolism was so apparent, that the seal of the government was a double cross and the government was portrayed to resemble the Nazi party. Now don't get me wrong...I don't agree with the actions the government took to enforce their extremist rules and to eliminate those who were insubordinate to their rules. I took offense to the fact that the government was labeled Christian, as if that's what Christianity is about: mind-control and hatred.

I'm puzzled by the hypocrisy of the film. It preaches tolerance of belief, yet it slams Christianity for taking a stand against human sin. I can respect a Muslim, a Jew, a Morman, a Scientologist and an Athiest for the right to believe what they believe. I disagree totally with all of their belief systems, but yet, I don't have any desire to take away their rights. So why can't I have that same respect in return with my Christian beliefs?

I reference a couple of current events to support my statements. Recently, Isaac Hayes, who played the role of "Chef" on South Park, quit the show because it made fun of Scientology. He never found any problem making fun of Christianity, yet poke fun at his religion and his civil rights are violated.

I then move to Annie Proulx, journalist and author, most recently in the public spotlight for her contribution to Brokeback Mountain. Upon losing the Academy Award for Best Picture to Crash, she made public comments referring to the movie as "Trash," assuming her own movie should have won. Somehow I think that if Mrs. Proulx had seen Crash at any other time and if it had not, in fact, competed against her own movie for an Oscar, I daresay she might have liked it. Instead, she didn't get her way and chose to shame a film that was definitely worth at least an Oscar nod. She did the same for Philip Seymour Hoffman and his best actor win for Capote, when Heath Ledger didn't bring home the bacon.

My point is this: V for Vendetta labeled Christianity unfairly in a movie where they were fighting for fairness of religious freedom, thought and action. It served no other purpose that the filmmakers own interests. You can skim the hypocrisy off the top with a stick.

Something else I noticed... Extreme violence was a defining factor of the totalitarian government in the film, so one might think V is certainly a pacifist, right? Wrong. His violence in return was no less gruesome or gratuitous. Interesting how the references the movie made to "war" were directed at our current political climate. V was engaged in violence because of his crusade. Is it possible that we may compare it to a similar crusade involving violence happening at this very moment? Or does it not apply because it's a "conservatively driven" crusade and you don't agree with it?

One thing I did appreciate about the movie was the verbose nature of V and the usage of a great amount of vocabulary, including some Latin. I also took note of the acting, intricately woven symbolism, entertainment value and cinematic beauty of the film.

The movie was a bit cheesy though. At one point, Natalie Portman's character leans in to kiss V and her lip gets stuck to his plastic mask. I know it's a random detail that probably no one else noticed, but I found it to be incredibly unromantic. V for Vom.

Perhaps my greatest joy of the evening was Lisa. Sarah was sitting on my left, Amanda on my right, and Lisa to Amanda's right. Near the end of the movie, Natalie Portman and her shaved head exits the subway train after some time had elapsed in the plot, and Lisa comments loudly, "I guess she likes her hair short like that." She said it so matter-of-factly that Sarah and I burst out laughing, immediately stifling snorts and giggles in the quiet movie theater. I'm laughing thinking about it now. I guarantee Sarah is too.

One other notable "incident." Lisa was sitting beside a really odd guy, probably about mid-twenties, wearing black leather fingerless gloves (a la Wacko Jacko) with studded wrist cuffs. He was evidently very excited about the movie and proceeded to guffaw with glee and clap loudly during his favorite scenes. At first I thought something was, you know, wrong with him, so I stopped laughing because I felt bad. But later on in the movie, I realized nothing was indeed wrong with him...well, that's up for debate...

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