Thursday, April 29, 2010

Burger King & Brunch

Burger King wants to start selling brunch.

Cute idea. Up there with McDonald's redesigning their restaurants to look like trendy, swanky cafes.

But BK is going to have one up on Micky D's - MIMOSAS. The non-alcoholic kind, of course. Sprite replaces champagne in this drink. But not everyone is thrilled with the idea.

However, watchdog groups such as Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Marin Institute -- which monitors the alcohol industry -- are not as pleased.

"This normalizes to children at a young age the idea that drinking is fine to do, and something we do everywhere," Michele Simon, the institute's research and policy director, told Brandweek.

What do you think?

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Wacky Celebrity Eyebrows

A few shots of some scary famous 'brow.
Admit it, Carrot Top scares you the most. Pin It

New Amy Grant Music, Fresh Thoughts

I'm a little behind the times here, but... I finally got to listen to Amy Grant's new album, Somewhere Down The Road. I'd had it for a few weeks but never got a chance to listen to it, despite actually carrying it in my purse in the hopes of catching an earful in the car. Life just was not conducive to listening to a CD all the way through, what with newborn babies arriving (not mine, relax), troubled teenagers to worry about, sick brother-in-laws landing themselves in the hospital, and - AS ALWAYS - car trouble.

I become a die-hard Amy Grant fan in the 6th grade, and that was a loooooooooong time ago. I have met her, I have spent an afternoon with her, and that mas made me an even bigger fan. It's one thing to write good songs and look pretty, it's another thing to actually be a really cool person. Anyway, as a 6th-grader, I loved Amy because I thought she was beautiful, stylish, and her music was fun. As I got older, I loved Amy because her music made me think and inspired me to write my own songs. Yes, I picked up a guitar when I was 15 because of her. And though I am by no means a musician at this point in my life, my writing is still inspired by her music. It is often in the background while I am working. Amy seems to have a song for whatever mood or season of life you are in.

Now, I will say this. When Behind The Eyes came out in 1997, I was an 18-year-old college student living in Nashville and I had hit a wall in my personal life that had me in a tailspin. I'd had a huge falling-out with a friend I loved dearly, I was having trouble making new friends, I was constantly sick and sleep-deprived, I began drinking heavily, and I was alone. I was constantly suicidal. Behind The Eyes was a pretty depressing album; I think even Amy would tell you that. The sad undertones of the album fed into my depression, but I didn't get all the relationship stuff. The I-Know-I-Should-Be-In-Love-With-My-Husband-But-I'm-Just-Not stuff really went over my head.

It wasn't until a few years later, when my own marriage was falling apart, that I "got it."

This album I "get". It's an album of reflection and I feel like I'm doing a lot of reflecting these days. I'm just a baby, I guess. Thirty-one certainly isn't old. But then I think... wait... I am around the age Amy Grant was when I became a fan, and that's just crazy. I don't have children; I don't know if I can have any. I am almost a decade into my marriage and I haven't seen my college friends in almost as long. Some of my demons have been beaten out of me and some of my demons still try to beat ON me.

On the other hand, I've seen my oldest nephew grow up, get engaged and enlist in the Navy. I've held my 3 youngest niece and nephews moments after they were born and prayed over them as they slept in my arms. I've been on national television, I'm friends with some amazing people I never would have guessed I'd be friends with, and I'm doing what I want to do for a living.

So, reflect away! The good, the bad, the ugly - it all serves a purpose. There is something to treasure in every season of life.

Amy Grant seems to think so, too.
That's what makes this a great album.
That's what makes Amy Grant great at what she does.

Can't wait to see what's a little further up this road. Pin It

Pole Dancing Isn't Just For Women

Pole dancing isn't just for women anymore.

Really? Because I'm pretty sure if my husband learned how to pole dance, I would have a problem with that.

Pole dancing gone bad.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Dove Awards Were My Nightmare

From the time I was in a training bra and multicolored braces, I knew I would attend the Dove Awards. I had this crystal ring holder in my bedroom and every year when the awards came on, I'd act out my role. I assumed, of course, that I would be a Dove winner, not just an audience member. I'd stand in front of my bedpost and thank everyone that helped me win that tenth Dove... God, my mom, my dad, my wonderful husband and our 4 perfect children, and Amy Grant - my bestest friend in the whole world who - of course - helped me write every song on my new platinum album.

It didn't quite work out that way.

Still, I did realize my dream of going to the Doves. It was 1999, I was 20 years old and not yet engaged to my husband, who came to Nashville with me for the event. Even though we had nosebleed seats, it was the highlight of my life... even though Amy wasn't scheduled to perform that year. If I ran into her washing her hands in the bathroom, that would be fine by me.

I picked out an outfit that was God-awful. I still have it, actually. I wore open-toed shoes but it was rainy and freezing. I thought I looked awesome - Reba, if you're reading this, you should have slapped me. Anyway, a few things happened along the way to make the day not-so-wonderful.

The day before the Doves, I went with my friends to see Avalon in concert. They were taping it for a show - don't ask me which one, it was 12 years ago. My friends were completely in love with Avalon and knew them on a first-name basis. I knew two of their songs and didn't really care. I wore the aforementioned open-toed shoes, thinking I was the queen of style. I was supposed to meet a big producer there, someone I had corresponded with at length about my music. I thought for sure the shoes would get me a record deal or something, I don't know. What I didn't realize was that concert tapings go on forever. I was in heals and my toes were frozen. There were no seats, we were all standing. They had to record several of the songs a zillion times to get them right. Everyone in the audience was thrilled, except for me. I was pissed. I was in pain. I hated stinking Avalon. When the show was over, my friends HAD to go up and talk to the dudes in the group. I found a folding chair and sulked.

The next day, my feet were cramped up in little balls and I was in agony. My calves hurt, too. I really, REALLY hated Avalon by that point. Plus... now I know this isn't something you really discuss publicly but it is such a big part of my story... I developed my first-ever... uh... we'll just call it a "girly infection." My feet hurt. My crotch was on fire. But it was Dove night and nothing - N.O.T.H.I.N.G - was going to keep me from my dream night!

There was one thing nobody had told me about award shows - DON'T COME EARLY. I don't remember how long the Doves went on for. Six hours? Eight days? It's hard to recall all these years later. The first few hours of the Doves consist of nothing anyone cares about... unless you're the person nominated or that person's grandmother. They give out awards for makeup artists, record technicians, the guy who cleans the toilets at the end of the night, the small Asian immigrant responsible for wiping Steve Taylor's nose...

To make matters worse, we ended up sitting with the family of one of the guys in the band Burlap to Cashmere. It was kinda cool at first. I had their album. (What happened to them anyway???) I liked their stuff. Sure. But it became a total nuisance, as Burlap was nominated for everything under the sun that year... with other bands we liked more. What were we gonna do?? We didn't want to be rude. So every time Burlap was announced as a nominee, no matter who they were up against, we felt compelled to jump out of our seats and cheer wildly like they were our own flesh and blood. When they lost, we acted like we had just seen a puppy get hit by a car. It was the least we could do. I mean, they did travel all the way from New York.

Of course, I spent about 25% of the entire evening in my seat because my "lady problem" was so bad I couldn't sit still. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom praying for mercy while my favorite Christian singers meandered in and out to pee and check for spinach in their teeth. I didn't think it would be appropriate to shove my hand under someone's stall and ask for an autograph. So I sat - and scratched - and cried.

I was also dismayed to discover that 1)commercial breaks were frequent and lasted about as long as a human pregnancy, 2)Naomi Judd was hosting, and 3) most of the artists only sang quarter-songs. Now, really. Quarter-songs? You don't hear quarter-songs on the Grammys. There I am, all psyched up for Steven Curtis Chapman, and he goes "SADDLE UP YOUR HORSES!" and walks away. WHAT IS THAT?!? Naomi Judd... arg. We won't go into her. I've met her many times and she rubs me the wrong way, enough said. And as for the commercial breaks... how much popcorn can you really buy? It was so boring we were practically playing Hang Man on the back of our programs.

After the 2-week awards ceremony, I was sicker than a dog. Lady problems, foot problems, plus my throat hurt and my glands were swollen. I wanted to go back to my friend's house where she was staying, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO she HAD to go to the after-parties. Screw the after-parties. The only party I wanted was sponsored by Aleve and Diflucan. So she loaned Scott and I her jeep and honestly... I don't remember a thing after that. I crashed and burned. (Literally and figuratively... but that's a little gross, so I'll stop.)

Know what? I never watched the Doves ever again after that. Ever. I doubt I ever will. Unless I'm nominated someday.

Do they give out Doves to authors? Pin It

Sunday, April 11, 2010

For the Love of Mummy

I sometimes gripe about my mom on here but truth be told, I love her dearly. Yes, she drives me a little nuts from time to time but she makes my life entertaining. It's easy to freak my mom out. Take for example, the red streak in my hair. Well, she didn't "freak" but she was unhappy.

The first anniversary of my 30th birthday is coming up at the beginning of May. (Shut up, that's how I choose to look at it.) For my 30th birthday, I gave myself a belated gift by having breast reduction surgery. This year, I want a tattoo. Oh, and a tiny diamond stud in my nose.

I should have just gotten it done and not said a word to my mother. She has terrible eyesight - I could have gotten away with the stud, at least. I'm a glutton for punishment. That, and it can be amusing to watch the expressions on my mom's face change. Thing is, I was expecting a firm, "Oh, Julie" but instead she told me if I ever get a stud in my nose (somehow a lifelong tattoo is better than a removable stud?) that I should never come over to her her house because I won't be welcome there.

Don't think my mom is irrational... even though she kind of is. She's not being cruel. Well, maybe she might be. But I'm not hurt. I'm amused. I was a troubled teenager but I never really did anything crazy to my appearance, other than stealing my dad's flannel shirts. FOR GOD'S SAKE, I WAS AN AMY GRANT FAN!! My brothers had mullets. One brother stopped combing his hair for a long period of time in college, though I can't remember why. The reason my mom is freaking out over MY planned changes in appearance... is because I am officially "in my thirties." In her world, women over the age of 35 should have short hair and always cover their legs. I'm only four years away from the mark.

I'll admit, I am feeling a bit... feisty. I don't feel like I'm a thirty-something and most people tell me I don't look like it, either. I've been married since I was barely 21. We've struggled financially, we have the worst car luck in the world, and it took me until about 2 months ago to start doing what I've always wanted to do for a living on a full-time basis. I don't have kids and I CAN'T have them. I can afford to do something out-of-the-ordinary (by my family's standards anyway) I just feel like doing something something... weird. It's not like I'm having an affair or trying out life as a Hare Krishna!

Let me have my nose stud. Let me get my tattoo. Who's it gonna kill, huh? If I were feeling REALLY feisty, I'd tattoo "MOM" on my shoulder but that's taking it a little too far. I get a chuckle imagining myself with a giant bull ring hanging out of my nose. Boy, oh boy. BOY, OH BOY!!!

My husband and I are pretty demented and we like to prank my mom in all sorts of ways. I think she's convinced this is all a prank. Sort of like when Scott and I were dating and we wanted to get a bag from the maternity clothing store in the mall and fill it full of stuff and leave it on my bed for her to see. (We never did it, though. I couldn't be responsible for a heart attack.)

All in favor of Julie getting a stud in her nose and a tattoo on her shoulder, say "AYE!" Pin It

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm Inna Mood!!!

I need... a day out. A day out with girlfriends. Or a night out. I'll take a SNACK out. I need OUT.

I've had this little anxiety problem lately. By lately I mean... hmm... maybe 3 or 4 months. It finally got so bad I asked the doctor for something to help me from ripping my hair out. Look, my options were limited. I could either get a prescription to stop panic attacks, become a raging alcoholic (runs in the fam!), or become a hermit. I live in an apartment complex so becoming a hermit just wouldn't work. You can't hide in a place like this. And, like I mentioned, crazy people come after me like heat-seeking missiles.

I'm also mucho irritated because it's the first week of April and it has been 90 degrees. ????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????? If you can't go to the pool, the heat is useless. I have a small window A/C. We want to buy a larger one to go in the living room so I decided to install the small one in my home office. Ah, but not JUST because I want to be physically comfortable when I'm writing. No, I also did it because window AC's are loud and they can drown out the sounds of... fighting, guns, profanity, doors slamming, screaming and parties. I don't want to start eating my anti-anxiety drugs like PEZ candy so I had to install my own noise. Sad, but true. We just got the AC in tonight and up until that point I was overheated, nauseous and downright miserable. Dude, when you sit a Subway meatball sub two feet in front of my face and I tell you I'm not hungry, SOMETHING IS WRONG.

And you know what else ticks me off?
No, I'm serious. I got on Facebook for two reasons: to keep in touch with family and friends, and to network... hence the term, SOCIAL NETWORKING. When I come across someone who doesn't want to network, it just drives me up the wall. Especially when you're friends with, like, two dozen of THEIR friends so they HAVE to know you're probably not a stalker with meat hooks in the basement, right? RIGHT? Is it a big deal? No. I'm just hot and pissy tonight.

There's a lot around me right now that needs to be fixed. People, places, things. My friend Susan says "your life is so much more interesting than mine." I don't know if it's more interesting or more... disturbing. I've sort of gone through my adult life thinking I could help people and fix things and I've realized I can't. I can't tell people what to do or not to do. If someone has their heart set on something, no amount of love or talking is going to change their mind. I know that, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to run around fixing everything. Even the ghetto people living in my apartment complex have me feeling this way - maybe if I could just be super nice to the teenager with the baby, she'd stop living crazy. Maybe if I invited the homies to church, maybe they'd stop smoking blunts in the parking lot. YEAH RIGHT. GET REAL, JULIE. I'm even dealing with it with my own niece. She's bent on destroying her life. I've been operating under the assumption that if I love her and buy her Hot Pockets and let her play on my laptop, I'll just nurture the self-destruction right out of her. Ha. It ain't working.

Once again, I'm forced to admit... I am human. Oh me of so little faith. I'm so bad at... faith. I'm so bad at... trust. I'm so bad at... believing. I'm so bad at... not worrying. I'm so bad at... finding peace in Christ. I'm so GOOD at... putting myself down.

And you, my lovely readers, got to hear all of this tonight because nobody was online to talk to. :-) Aren't you lucky? Pin It

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Awesome Tampon Ads

I guess you don't read "Awesome Tampon Ads" very often, but THESE tampon ads ARE awesome and HILARIOUS!

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Life in Da Hood

YAY! for getting so trashed you take off your pants and pee in public!

You know the saying, "It takes all kinds." And that other saying - "Different strokes for different folks." It really is true, you know. It would be a boring world if we were all the same... or at least that's what my mom says.

I've had all kinds of neighbors. I had the 40-something wannabe rock star living downstairs and sleeping with a woman and her daughter at the same time. I've had the Chinese neighbors living above their Chinese restaurant next-door to me who used to hang skinned animals off of a laundry rack on their deck to "dry" (and be swarmed by flies.) I had the pervert Vietnam vet who gave me a drive-by hickey, the slightly mentally disabled couple that had me fix their computer at least every 2 days because they downloaded so much crap on it, it nearly collapsed and died. I've been everywhere, man. I've been everywhere.

I survived my crazy neighbors by having a warped sense of humor and writing skills. I've started a novel - you should read it. You'd accuse me of making everything up. But there's one type of "neighbor" I can't handle - "ghetto" people.

I live in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and a creek and a huge lake about 5 minutes away. Quiet, peaceful, lovely. Or at least it was... until the Ghetto People moved in.

I know what you're thinking, and you're wrong. This isn't a racial thing (most of them are white anyway) and this isn't an anti-urban thing. My protest has to do with:
-wild parties that go all night
-drunk people peeing in my parking lot
-people passing guns around in the parking lot and shooting at stuff in the backyard
-babies screaming for attention while they're parents are busy getting trashed
-beer bottles all over the backyard
-cigarette butts as far as the eye can see

You see, children, it doesn't matter what color you are or where you're from. If you neglect your kids, trash your own home, degrade yourself in public, do drugs and test guns at an apartment complex... that makes you "ghetto." It doesn't matter if you're one of those odd-looking fundamentalist Mormons living out on the prairie with your 27 children and 8 husbands, it still makes you "ghetto." The Christian in me says, "Tell them about Jesus!" The rest of me says, "Please don't kill me!" I think I have a right to be peeved, too. I moved here because it was beautiful and serene. I didn't sign up for a prolonged episode of "Gangland." When I sit on my deck, I want to look at the birdies, not the ciggy butts.

Last night, I was telling my husband how much I want to move, but then I thought about it. I REALLY thought about it. Why move? The crazies follow me everywhere I go! There is no safe place. Crazy people SEEK Julie Fidler. It's like there's an Association of Neighbors Determined to Drive Julie Fidler Insane and they've implanted a tracking chip in my brain so that every time I relocate, they can find me and continue their mission to send me to Bellevue.

So I guess we'll stay here and just learn how to dodge bullets. For now, anyway. My dad is a New Yorker and when I was a kid we always went back to NY to visit my grandparents. I don't know if you've ever been to Yonkers, but you have to drive through the Bronx to get there. You've never seen graffiti until you've driven through the Bronx. Anyway, stopping at a red light in the Bronx was always a treat. As soon as you so much as slowed down to 35mph, you were charged by 3 guys with bloodshot eyes, a bottle of Windex and a Squeegee trying to wash your car for you against your will. Mom always told me to lock my door and not make eye contact. Safe to say that applies to my new neighbors.

(And incidentally, I still don't sit down on public toilet seats and I always flush with my foot. Thanks, Mom.)

The scary thing is... the past 7+ days have been so crazy, I could write an entire novel about that alone, but the Ghetto People are dominating my thoughts. I'm going to have to blog again today if I want to keep my sanity. Unfortunately, little green people could infiltrate the apartment complex and I'd still be thinking about the Ghetto People. They could abduct me and probe me and I'd still listening for guns and rap music.

God, help me love these people. Keep me safe. And please remove the chip from my brain. Pin It
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