Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I used to really love music. I still do love it, but I don't seem to have the same unbridled passion for it like I once did. Throughout high school and into my early college years, I was voracious for music. I remember how great it felt to discover a new (to me) artist or a great song. I was really into sites like Audio Galaxy and artist-shared sites like One of my favorite things about working at American Eagle through high school was when we would have "floor sets". This is where we would go into the store at 9:00pm on a Saturday night and work through the night until noon Sunday morning. In these fifteen hour sets, we would completely transform the store's displays, shelving structures, mannquins, etc. I would always make a few mix cds for us to listen to through the night. I would work so hard on these cd's - trying to find the perfect mix of songs to keep us energized through the night, and sane through the wee hours of the morning. I do believe there is an art to making a perfect mix cd. There is a delicate balance between mixing old songs and new songs, fast tempos and slow tempos, and old artists and new artists.

Since I've been working 9:00-5:00, it seems to have sucked the life out of me (see my friend's blog for her view on the working world). Chad and I often discuss how my hobbies and passions have kind of dwindled down to nothing these past few years. Running has helped with this two fold - running has become a hobby and passion of it's own, but it has also re-kindled my interest in music. I am always looking for new tunes to put on my running mix - the right mix of songs can make all the difference.

All this to say, I am really getting excited about music again.

Here are some albums I am enjoying right now.
Nine Crimes - Damien Rice
Sunken Treasure - Jeff Tweedy (free download with purchase of dvd)
Begin to Hope - Regina Spektor
Future Sex/Love Sounds - Justin Timberlake (a perennial fave of mine)
Me & My Gang - Rascal Flatts (I admit...a very guilty pleasure)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Winter Blues

These bone-chilling Kentucky winter nights have me longing for the summer. We moved from Louisiana in late August, so we caught the tail end of a Kentucky summer. In honor of the upcoming season, I have compiled a Top Ten list (in no particular order) of things that I am looking forward to doing this summer.

10. Gardening

Well, I've cleared the last of my Fall plants over to the plant graveyard (don't ask) and I have grand visions for the Spring and Summer. I love to garden. I am horrible at it, but I still love it, nonetheless. We were able to get a few things planted this past fall, but I am really looking forward to the spring. I am envisioning overflowing hanging baskets of verbena, containers with lantana and hibiscus, and flower beds with healthy lilies and mexican heather, all arranged on the porch and in flower beds in a manner worthy of a Southern Living spread. Will this actually happen? Not likely - but a girl can dream. Our front porch seems so bare right now - I can't wait until we have our set of rocking chairs and plants to liven it up.

9. Summer Nights
One thing I love to do in the evenings is to take Emma on walks around the neighborhood. It is almost impossible to do now - by the time I get home from work it is dark and freezing. In the summer, it will be light outside until 7:00 or 8:00, and much much warmer. Now, I am only able to get her out for walks on Saturday and Sunday, but come Spring and Summer, lil Emma will be back in fighting shape with daily walks.
This will, hopefully, help her sleep through the night again (she's turned into quite the lil night owl).

Chad and I are going to try and uncaulk some of the windows in our house - even if we only get two open, we will be able to get such a great breeze going through the house. I can't wait to smell the summer nights drifting through our house.

8. Vacation in Tennessee
Perhaps one of the things that I am most excited about this summer is our family vacation in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with Chad's parents, his sister Payton and her husband Jay. We always have such a great time when we are together, and I know this vacation is going to be so fun. I'm already anticipating all the outlet malls we'll be able to hit - I've been told that the Pigeon Forge area is famous for it's outlet malls and fudge. I'm a big fan of both. I've heard that there is a Member's Only outlet - I told Chad that we need to get him a sweet windbreaker while we are there.

7. Casual Fridays
I am really excited about the idea that my casual Friday attire will soon include cropped pants and cute sandals.

6. Summer Road Races

In the Lexington/Louisville/Cincinnati area there is a 5k, 10k, or some other type of running road race almost every weekend. There is nothing I love more than running outside and working up a good sweat.

5. Farmer's Markets/Estate Sales

I love fresh fruit and vegetables - and it seems like farmer's markets and vegetable stands are all over central Kentucky in the summer. I am so amazed at how cheap these stands are! There is a great fruit and vegetable stand about a block from our house - I can't wait until it is back up and running. We are also excited about estate sales - hopefully we will find our aforementioned rocking chairs at a sale this summer.

4. Nicholasville's Pool/Water Park

The community pool seems pretty neat - but at $4 a pop - I don't think we will be frequenting the pool every weekend.

3. Dallas Trip

Another trip that I am really excited about is my journey south to Dallas for my twin sister's graduation from the University of Dallas. It will be so great to see my whole family and eat at Taco Bueno. We will also be celebrating my parent's twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, so that is exciting.

2. 2nd Anniversary
Speaking of anniversaries...Chad and I will celebrate our second wedding anniversary this May 28th! These past two years have flown by so quickly. I am so lucky to be married to such a great man!

1. A New Member of the Brooks' Family

...No, not a baby - a puppy! I really would like to get a second dog this Summer. I would love for Emma to have a little friend - maybe a lab puppy (like the cutie above from This means that I have six months to beg/convince Chad that this is a good idea. He's the strong, sensible one in the family - but I think I can sway him.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Will Work for Mexican Food (pt. 2)

My desire for cheese enchiladas is almost over-powering. Chad and I have really buckled down on our budget - we are trying to cook more meals at home and really be careful about going out to eat. Luckily, we have a great group of friends in Wilmore who are budget conscience as well - so we usually get together on the weekends and have cook-outs or pot-luck meals, rather than going to a restaraunt. This has been really good for us - but I have to get my mexican food fix soon or I may break. Chad has been working really hard this month with three different jobs, and the fruits of his labor will be deposited in our bank account tommorow. Luckily, I have the sweetest husband in the world and he has allocated some of his hard-earned funds to take me out for my favorite meal - chips & salsa, cheese enchiladas (with cheese sauce, not enchilada sauce) rice & beans, and perhaps an ice cold margarita.

Food has become a big motivator for me in my training. When I feel like I just can't run anymore, I think of all of the calories I've burned and how they will enable me to have those nachos, that cookie, or that fruit pie. Dangle a cheese enchilada in front of me on a stick and I'll run for 26.2 miles.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I really enjoyed this past weekend. On Friday night, Chad and I were able to attend a lecture/discussion at Asbury Seminary where Steve Chalke and Brian McLaren were speaking about "The Emergent Landscape." It was pretty fascinating to hear these guys speak - I was glad that Chad and I were able to do that together. Also, I got to stop by Chad's home away from home this month - the Asbury Phone-A-Thon. I got to meet some of his bosses and co-workers, and hear them brag on him and his skills.

On Saturday, Chad and I went to a Foundations of Discipleship class/retreat at La Roca. Chad and I really love our church, and we are excited about taking the steps needed to getting more involved. When my parents came to visit us around Thanksgiving, we were able to take them to the Kingdom service at La Roca, which is only held every few months. There are three pretty distinct crowds at La Roca - the crowd from the traditional service, the crowd from the contemporary service, and the crowd from the Hispanic service. Kingdom services are an attempt to bring all three of these groups together to worship as one. My parents were pretty blown away by the experience - my dad was amazed at how many different people groups, age groups, and economic statuses were represented. My mom summed it up in a few words - "It was as if at any moment I could burst into tears and sob through the whole service." It is that powerful. That is how I feel every Sunday.

Last night, we went to the Communality house in Lexington to hear Brian McLaren and Steve Chalke speak once again. This was much more relaxed than the Friday night thing. I even got to talk with Steve a little. Did I ask him about his work with the poor or one of his fascinating books? Nope, I asked him about marathons. He's run six total, including the New York Marathon. I was able to get some good tips from the veteran runner. I also really enjoyed the discussion, and I feel priveleged to have been able to attend.

I was finally able to get outside (and off the treadmill) this past Saturday. It was a little tougher than I expected - I guess I've gotten spoiled with my warm, well-hydrated treadmill runs. It was a bit different getting out in 30 degree weather and facing the wind and hills. Tonight, Chad was telling me about a group of people in Wilmore who are running the Nashville Country Music Half Marathon in April. They get together for their long runs on Saturday mornings - I'm hoping I can join in the fun. When I get up to the 11, 12 mile runs - I have a feeling that I will be grateful for company. Ironically, the Derby Half Marathon that I am doing in Louisville in April is the same day as the Nashville one, so our training schedules should match up pretty well.

I have my dachshund pajama pants on, I'm cuddling with a real cute mini dachshund, I'm watching America's Funniest Home Videos, and the newest Reader's Digest arrived in the mail today. All is right with the world.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Chimp After My Own Heart

As I read the following article at lunch today, I had to do everything in my power to keep from laughing hysterically out loud and disturbing my co-workers. I love the "Offbeat News" section on CNN - and today I came across a "Weird News" section on the Lexington Herald-Leader website. It was there that I found this heart-warming article.

Escaped chimp gets snack, cleans bathroom
Associated Press

"LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An escaped chimpanzee at the Little Rock Zoo raided a kitchen cupboard and did a little cleaning with a toilet brush before sedatives knocked her out on top of a refrigerator.

The 120-pound primate, Judy, escaped yesterday into a service area when a zookeeper opened a door to her sleeping quarters, unaware the animal was still inside.

As keepers tried to woo Judy back into her cage, she rummaged through a refrigerator where chimp snacks are stored. She opened kitchen cupboards, pulled out juice and soft drinks and took a swig from bottles she managed to open.

Keeper Ann Rademacher says Judy went into the bathroom, picked up a toilet brush and cleaned the toilet. Rademacher says the 37-year-old Judy was a house pet before the zoo acquired her in 1988, so she may have been familiar with housekeeping chores. Judy wrung out a sponge and scrubbed down the fridge.

It took a couple of tries, but the zoo sedated the chimp, who fell asleep on top of the refrigerator with half a loaf of cinnamon-raisin bread she had pulled out of the freezer.

The zoo veterinarian gave Judy a drug to bring her around. Rademacher says Judy was groggy but fine after the episode.

The zoo says there was no danger Judy would get out of the primate keepers service area and onto zoo grounds."

When I was little, my parents took my sister and me to see a house that was for sale in our neighborhood. We met up with the realtor at the house and she took us on the tour. There really wasn't anything that special about the house, except for one thing in the backyard. The house had a pool with a diving board, and attached to the diving board was this long chain. My sister Megan held up the chain and asked the realtor what it was for. The realtor explained that the previous owners had a chimpanzee for a pet, and that he would play in the backyard with the family. The realtor regaled us with tales of the little chimp doing flips off of the diving board and winning cannonball contests.

But as fun as it all seemed, I still think about that chimp being chained up in a backyard in the suburbs of Houston. And as cute as little Judy was cleaning the toilet, it's sad to think that a chimpanzee knows...well, how to clean a toilet.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Time I Caused a Stampede at the Astrodome

...and no, that's not the title of the new Fall Out Boy single. I really did cause a stampede at the Astrodome in the summer of 2001, and I'm still working through the guilt.

It all started when my friend and I went to see NSync, live in concert at the Houston Astrodome. During the not so captivating opening performance by Dream (yet another band put together by P. Diddy that flopped after one single), we decided to get something to drink from the concession stand before NSync took the stage.

After waiting in line 45 minutes for $6 Cokes, we decided to head back to our seats. In the crowded corrider, I caught a glimpse of a young boy in a matching Fubu pantset. "Oh my God!! It's Lil Romeo!!" I screeched and frantically waved my hands towards the young boy. Before I knew it, hot dogs were flying and Cokes were spilling as a frenzied herd of pre-teens stormed through the corridor towards the young son of Master P.

Unfortunatley, it wasn't Lil Romeo. It was simply a young fan who had broken out the starched Fubu pantset for a night out on the town. Logically, it didn't make sense that Lil Romeo (one of the opening acts that night) would be headed to the concession stand with his friends to get some snacks. In my defense, his friends did look suspiciously like an entourage.

I suppose this is why there are laws against yelling "fire" in a crowded room.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

How Mere-Maw Got Her Groove Back

It's official - marathon training has begun! Early mornings at the gym with nothing to watch but BET or CNN have neccesitated the creation of the perfect playlist. These beats are sure to get me and the Nano jumping every morning.

1. Forgot About Dre -- Dr. Dre
2. Rollin' -- Limp Bizkit
3. Hip's Dont Lie -- Shakira
4. Hip Hop Is Dead -- Nas
5. Highway to Hell -- AC/DC
6. Fergalicious -- Fergie
7. Gold Digger -- Kanye West (f/ Jamie Foxx)
8. Money Maker -- Ludacris (f/ Pharell)
9. I Write Sins Not Tragedies -- Panic! At the Disco
10. Bring Em Out -- T.I.
11. Number 1 -- Nelly
12. Sexyback -- Justin Timberlake
13. Mony Mony -- Billy Idol
14. If You Want Blood (You've Got It) -- AC/DC
15. My Love -- Justin Timberlake
16. Come On Over -- Christina Aguilera

Talk about making a white girl move!
(...and yes, Chad made fun of me for most of these songs - but I caught him secretly dancing to Fergalicious)