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Friday, September 29, 2006

The weekend is almost here and...

I rather feel like expressing myself now. And I could certainly use the release!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Spectacular Spectacles

Here I go again, making a "spectacle" of myself with my new glasses...

The first pair is my fun, chichi pair. You can't tell because of the lighting, but they're kind of a shiny, bronzy color. Lana will take credit for picking these out, and I must say, she has fabulous taste.

The second pair is my everyday pair. Again with the poor lighting, but they're a chocolatey-brown color with silver Chanel C's on the sides.

Lastly, we have my third pair, in classic black. I love the dotted-quilted accents and the shiny Chanel C's on the sides.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I bid you adieu, Bluegrass Trio.

The Queen MAB summer concert series has been extended, adding fall tour dates. Nickel Creek was the seventh stop, at the "rock-n-roll house of worship," the Ryman Auditorium.

The inclement weather didn't deter Mandy, Brad, Lisa, Miller, Mason, Lori, Amanda and myself from hopping over to the East side of Nashville, for some pre-concert sustenance at Beyond the Edge.

Nickel Creek recently announced they are taking an "indefinite break" from recording together and touring as a group, so I had been looking forward to this show for awhile. Overall, the concert was superb, yet a little more mellow than I prefer. Lisa, Jamey and I saw them last year at the War Memorial with the Ditty Bops, and the band rocked out, tearing off into upbeat bluegrass rifts. Funny thing is, the Ryman is a better venue for acoustics than the War Memorial, but I don't feel like the band took full advantage.

Some memorable moments of the evening:

  • Sara Watkins broke a fiddle string and plopped down onstage for a good five minutes to re-string her instrument.
  • Chris Thile expressing what an honor it is to play at the historical Ryman, and the band's attempt to create an "epic Ryman moment," by covering Britney Spears "Toxic."
  • A 45-minute-long encore with appearances by banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck and classical-jazz musician, Edgar Meyer, both Grammy Award winners.

I'm pleased and honored to have witnessed such an exceptionally talented band perform live and I look forward to their various solo projects.

Sean Watkins "Blinders On"
Sara Watkins TBA Spring 2007
Chris Thile "How to Grow a Woman from the Ground"

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sensing Autumn

It has begun. My favorite season of the year has commenced. Some may bloom in the spring, but my senses come alive in the fall.


  • Fall is Tennessee's greatest season. The rich, rolling hills explode into a palette of crimson red, bright orange and yellow gold. Ever since I began commuting back and forth to work downtown, I've become more aware of the leaves changing. Each day the subtle and colorful metamorphosis unfolds before my eyes and it never fails to call the Lord's praises to my lips for His beautiful creation.
  • The advent of autumn yields a plethora of new television shows, as well as the return of my old favorites, prompting questions such as, "who will be eliminated from the race?" "what diva's photo is Tyra holding?" and "will she choose McDreamy or McVet?"


  • Roaring crowds and whistling referees signal the most grand of all competitive sports, football. Listen for the sound of different ages and social circles mingling, and the crescendo of excitement amidst the clashing of helmets and the sis-boom-bah of the cheerleaders.
  • Maybe it's because fall feels mellow. Something about the season prompts me to dust off my jazz, blues and big band albums and reacquaint myself with my old friends, Miles, Billie and Frank.


  • Certain smells are characteristic only of fall. The pungent odor of a harvest bonfire and the charred marshmellows, dripping from wire coat hangers. The sharp fragrance of baled hay causing me to sneeze. The stale aroma of piles of crunchy leaves.


  • Fall means the return of the hot beverage. In my case, it means the return of hot tea. I prefer to think of it as a comforting experience that warms my soul from the tip of the head to the tip of the toes.
  • In my fall, holidays are associated with food. Halloween produces sufficient amounts of chocolate and other sugary confections, while Thanksgiving combines the king of protein with the carb buffet.
  • The most fabulous vegetable of them all manifests itself in the form of the following: pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin toddy, pumpkin seeds, so-on-and-so-forth...


  • The autumn air is crisp, so crisp, it cools to the core upon inhalation, instantly rejuvenating the weary. I live for crisp, fall days.
  • Fall fabrics in corduroy, wool, denim and leather hit the clothing racks. These bold textiles begged to be handled and worn.
  • Forget the boys of summer. It's all about the boys of fall. Holding hands with the object of your affection in the fall generates electricity, an ethereal experience that cannot be replicated in any other season.

Just like that pinecone that rolled up to my doormat yesterday, I welcome you, autumn.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Get an Ugly Girl to Marry You

Last weekend, Lana and I became privy to a fascinating nugget of information, presented to us by an unlikely source.

On Saturday afternoon, we made a jaunt over to the Mall at Green Hills, for a browse at the Sephora to find Lana a new bronzer, followed by a three-hour excursion at Lens Crafters, in an effort to spend a large chunk of my medical reimbursement from work.

We entered the store and began trying on the rows and rows of glasses. I guess we must have been animated and laughing sort of loudly, because I look over, and there's a young gentleman watching us and smiling. I realize he is a store employee, and I kind of wave him over for help. He comments about how much fun Lana and I are having and that he wants to join in.

As we are trying on different glasses, Lana hands me a pair that I don't like. I comment aloud that they look too futuristic, like those headband sunglasses that used to come in Wendy's kids meals. Marcus, as the store employee is called, looks at me funny and says, "wait, how do you remember those sunglasses? How old are you?" When I tell him that I'm 25, his mouth falls open and he looks at Lana and asks the same question. He's dumbfounded and tells us that he we looked a lot younger. Of course, Lana and I are both thrilled by this.

Throughout the course of three hours, Lana and I get to know Marcus intimately. He becomes "one of the gals," and shows us photos of his three children, ex-wife, and current boyfriend. Marcus practically falls in love with Lana and I, and he asks us if we have boyfriends. Lana and I look at each other in disgust and mumble "no." Lana chimes in that there aren't any good guys in Nashville, and Marcus retorts that there are, but they're all at the gay bar.

Lana laments that she just doesn't understand why she and all of her fabulous girlfriends are single and Marcus attempts to shed some light. He looks at Lana and I and says, "you both are very pretty girls and you look all cute with your makeup and earrings. Don't take this the wrong way, but I'm afraid that guys might think ya'll are too high maintenance."

Lana and I turn to each other in shock, and exclaim, "we aren't high maintenance," and "we can't help it if we look cute," and "we're guy-girls and we like sports and boy stuff too." Marcus nods in agreement, but says, "guys really just want girls who aren't going to give them any problems or challenge them. It's like the song goes, 'Get an Ugly Girl to Marry You.'" Lana and I burst out laughing and Marcus begins to sing the song.

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife.
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

Being the Internet search guru that I am, I spent all morning scouring the WWW for this Harry Belafonte song, but I'm coming back to you empty handed. I really wanted you to hear it.

We finally left the mall. I was satisfied because I purchased three new pair of glasses, all on the company dime, and Lana, because every pair of glasses she'd tried on made her look even more fabulous than she is now. Ask her yourself, and she'll tell you it's true. She believes she has the perfect oval face for glasses.

So, fast-forward to Sunday afternoon. Lana and I are waiting in traffic, attempting to exit the church parking lot. We see an attractive gentleman, about 35-ish, with two young, handsome boys chasing after him. Following those three, is a woman who leaves quite a bit to be desired. I'm probably going to get struck by lightning for saying this, but lady wasn't cute. And it's not like she couldn't be cute if she wanted to be---a little makeup and an iron would have really taken her places. Lana and I are commenting about this fact, when it hits us both at the same time: "Get an Ugly Girl to Marry You."

We're both puzzled and amused by this discovery. I comment, "you know, Laney, I've figured out our problem---we suffer from high self-esteem. I have too much confidence in myself. I like to be cute, if for no one else, but to please myself. Some girls suffer from low self-esteem, but not us. Hello, my name is Mary Anna and I'm a Narcissist."

I wonder if they have a 12-step program for NPD...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I just consumed the best nectarine of my life. Or maybe it wasn't the best nectarine of my life, but a combination of hunger for something sweet and the absence of a pint of ice cream in my freezer, that leads me to make such a proclamation.

Normally, the fruit I purchase at the grocery store doesn't ever make it into my belly. I'll spend careful amounts of time selecting the perfect piece of fruit, void of bruises, dents and other imperfections. Once home, the fruit is placed in the fridge, a.k.a. "the place fruit goes to die."

I simply forget it's there. Or I'll remember it's there and then I go to eat it and it's not ripe enough, therefore allowing it to linger a few days more in the fridge, only to rediscover an uninticing, fuzzy growth that has overtaken the fruit.

But this time it was different...

I purchased four nectarines at the Publix, when I went grocery shopping with Lana, two Sunday's ago. I had eaten three of them, as of last Friday afternoon. But my attempts to eat the fourth, and final nectarine, had previously been thwarted, as the little bugger wouldn't ripen. It's almost as if it knew it's destiny, to become a simple sugar in my digestive system.

Truth is, I had forgotten about that nectarine. Until tonight.

I literally yelped with joy when I realized what the wadded up paper bag contained, hiding in the back of my fridge. And I actually talked to it, while I rinsed it and cut it into perfect, juicy slices. (That's what happens when you live alone---you talk to your fruit).

The rest is comestible history.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Inflated Thoughts

It's been an eventful week, therefore, I have more thoughts to share with you. Unfortunately, due to rising fuel costs, economic inflation and my current impoverished state, I've had to increase the charge for sharing my thoughts, to a quarter. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but I can assure you, my thoughts are worth the money.

I'm ready if you are.

Thought # 1

The Aspen Bungalow has been overtaken by uninvited guests. You might call them ants, but I like to refer to them as "the-little-bastards-that-won't-go-away-despite-my-attempts-to-end-their-diminutive-lives-with-devious-traps-and-potent-poisonous-spray-solutions."

I have searched and searched my kitchen over, for any evidence of sticky, sugary goo, or crumbles of long-forgotten food hiding in the depths of linoleum and formica, that may be enticing these vermin into my personal sanctuary. Truth is, I'm a clean person. I don't say that with a cavalier attitude, either. I may even be bold enough to say that I'm the cleanest, neatest, tidiest person that any of you have ever met, and it's a borderline obsessive-compulsive condition. I abhor dirt, germs and all things filth. I am the poster-child for Purell.

So, why am I infested with ants? And even more puzzling, why can't I get them to just leave my pristine abode alone?

Thought #2

Yesterday morning, I attended the CWJC Fall Semester Kickoff, with the lady I mentor, Gladys. Gladys and I are in engaging in a group discussion with a couple of other ladies in the program, when one the ladies interrupts, looks directly at me, and says, "Hey---has anyone ever told you that you look like Mariah Carey?" Upon hearing this, I burst out laughing, and then realized she was serious. Now, I have never, ever in my lifetime, been told that I look like Mariah, therefore I found her observation a little odd.

I got to work later that afternoon, and relayed the incident to my officemate and another co-worker. Immediately as I said "Mariah Carey," both of them broke out in simultaneous choruses of agreement. Again, I am shocked by the response.

But surely I don't really look like Mariah Carey. I, once again, told the story to Lana and Sarah last night, and was met with the same, enthusiastic response: "Wow, you really do look like Mariah Carey!"

I don't see it and I'm not sure if I should be flattered or offended. Afterall, at one point in time, Mariah was a pretty girl who took care of herself and could be labeled as classy. But all of this is a moot point, thanks to incidences such as Glitter, the breakdown, and her general ho-ing around town.

Thought #3

Recently, Daily Candy sent me a link to a fantasy celebrity league, called Fafarrazi. Basically, it's like fantasy sports, except you draft celebrities and you receive points based on catfights, plastic surgeries, hookups, breakups and other public spectacles. It's kind of a sick sport, and I'm looking forward to being a part of it. I plan to create a league soon, and am extending an invitation for you to join in the fun. Email me if you're a taker!

Thought #4

The Cubmobile needs an oil change really badly, but I'm afraid to take her on down to the Firestone. Every time I go in there, they tell me that something is wrong with my car. Your first inclination might be to say, "they're a bunch of money-hungry crooks that are taking advantage of a clueless gal," but I trust them for the most part. Their diagnoses have been correct the past several times they've checked out the car (after receiving second opinions and the gold standard opinion on cars, Daddy Brown). Plus, my car isn't getting any younger.

Anyway, she needs an oil change, and I fear, a whole lot more. I am soooooo broke-phi-broke.

Thank you, and come again soon!

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

"A Penny For Your Thoughts"

I have several thoughts that I'd like to share with you today.

Thought #1

I battle allergies on a daily basis. I'm allergic to a variety of plant-pollens, dust and mold spores. My allergies have also been known to inflame on days where the air quality is poor. Amidst discussions with friends about our shared allergies, I've often mentioned how I can tell the air quality is suffering based on my allergic reactions on a daily basis. I won't name any names, but there is one particular friend o' mine that consistently mocks me when I mention the air quality.
This friend of mine---we'll call her Adnama---thinks the whole "air quality thing" is preposterous, nothing more than a sham. In case others of you are as uninformed as she, let me provide for you a little tutorial, compliments of AirNow:

  • The "Air Quality Index" (AQI), is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your outdoor air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: ground-level ozone, particle pollution (also known as particulate matter), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. For each of these pollutants, EPA has established national air quality standards to protect public health.
  • Alerts range from "Good" to "Hazardous," with four levels inbetween.

Every morning, I watch Good Morning America. Among the news segments, the News Channel 2 staff provides local news updates, weather forecasts, traffic advisories, pollen counts, and yes, air quality alerts. See, I fall in the category of "sensitive groups," meaning that an AQI of 101 to 150 (symbolized by the color orange), is unhealthy for me and causes an allergic reaction, resulting in headaches, nasal congestion and fatigue.

Perhaps Adnama will be satisfied with this explanation. If not, she's just "bastard people."

Thought #2

Sometime this weekend, I replaced my old license plate with a new license plate, recently issued by the state of Tennessee. I was not overwhelmingly in love with my previous plate, but I found the design to be simple and aesthetically pleasing enough. It was mediocre at best. However, I strongly dislike the new Tennessee license plate design. It's not only faded and boring, but also displays outdated font. It's a major step down from the last plate. And worst of all, the new plate showcases nothing indicative of Tennessee's rich tradition. Yes, it features Tennessee's rolling hills, but you can barely see them in spite all of the lettering. "Boring, boring, boring, boring, boring..." Why do I care so much??? Because I do, that's why.

Thought #3

Last night, the gals and I spent p.m. at PM Nashville, a Belmont-area hipster-sushi joint. "It's a Zen thing, like how many babies fit in a tire." We looked hot. Here we are for your viewing pleasure.

Amanda, Amy, Lana, MA, Natalie & Sarah

Thought #4

I watched Waiting for Guffman twice this weekend, and laughed heartily both times. I also made reference to the movie several times in this post. "Which brings me to the number 5..."

Thought #5

"There are five letters in the word Blaine. Now, if you mix up the letters in the word Blaine, mix 'em around, eventually, you'll come up with Nebali."

Friday, September 1, 2006


Beginning today, Derek Webb, former frontman of Caedmon's Call, is releasing his 2005 album, Mockingbird, for free download at FreeDerekWebb.com.

Derek's writing is thought-provoking and a call to action, touching on subjects including politics, social justice and war. Derek has stated that he tackled these subjects to stimulate discussion and engage people to bring about changes in what he sees as some of the greatest problems the world is facing today. Derek also writes about the dysfunctional relationship between legalism and a relationship with Christ, and how society views the "modern church."

So often, we get caught up in the legalism of society and the church, and we forget what it's really all about: Christ's unconditional, unwaivering, all-encompassing love. Freedom from the law does not mean freedom from responsibility, but it does mean that a blameless man sacrificed his own life so that you and I may live peacefully and abundantly.

In turn for the FREE album download, Derek suggests you make a $10 contribution to one of three featured nonprofits, Blood:Water Mission, International Justice Mission, and Mocha Club.

Read Derek's explanation of the promotion below:

i love music. i have grown up with music as a close confidant. and i believe in the power of music to move people. there's something remarkable about the way a melody can soften someone to a new idea.

as an artist (and often an agitator), this is something i am keenly aware of. my most recent record 'mockingbird' deals with many sensitive issues including poverty, war, and the basic ethics by which we live and deal with others. but i found that music has been an exceptional means by which to get this potentially difficult conversation going. and this is certainly an important moment for dialogue amongst people who disagree about how to best love and take care of people, to get into the nuances of the issues.

one of the things that excites me most about the future of our business is how easy it is becoming to deliver music to people who want to hear it. i heard a story once about keith green caring so much that people were able to hear and engage with his music that he gave it away for free, which was a very difficult and expensive thing to do at that time. it's actually never been as simple as it is today to connect music with music fans. and i want people to have a chance to listen to mockingbird and engage in the conversation.

so this is why, on september 1st, we're launching freederekwebb.com, a place where anyone can go online and not just hear but actually download, keep, and share 'mockingbird' completely for free. In addition, freederekwebb.com will give you an opportunity to invite your friends to download 'mockingbird' in order to get them in on the conversation as well.

we hope this bold campaign will provide a jumping off point for conversations about all of these issues, and communicate my commitment to playing my part in starting them. so please help us spread the word: on september 1st, 'mockingbird' will be set free!

derek webb

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