Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving for Real This Time!

Hello there friends and family!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year! I for one had a wonderful time with Jason, but also missed my family a whole lot. Thankfully, Thanksgiving started out on the perfect note with a phonecall from mom and her annual turkey wake up call. I got up early and baked crescent rolls with homemade frosting and put on a pot of coffee so I could catch the Macys Parade - which is my favorite and I can never miss it. But Kati, I sure did miss cuddling up with you this year - and yelling at Kris from the living room to get her butt up out of bed to join us!!

When we finally decided to get going, we headed out for some good ol' Southern dining at the nearby Cracker Barrel. :-) We had decided earlier on that because we had celebrated Thanksgiving with the Keith family and Grandma Moreland in October, we weren't going to cook another Thanksgiving meal - it's a lot of work and a LOT of leftovers! We STILL have turkey in our freezer! These are two pictures from when we had our Thanksgiving with the Keiths, Grandma Moreland and our friend Roxanne.

After dinner at CB, we headed over to some friends of ours, Chris and Sara to say hi and have a little pumpkin pie. And we finished the evening curled up on the couch and watching You, Me and Dupree - which was a very lame movie might I add.

The rest of the weekend was very restful and relaxing. I was home most of the weekend reading and hanging out, since Jason had to work Friday night and Sunday night, but on Saturday we did head out in search of the perfect Christmas Tree. And we found it with no problem at all! The first place we had stopped at, we were told that if it was Nobles we were in seach of, there was a guy out in Smyrna that had them shipped in from Oregon! It was a strange concept to me that they have to literally ship Christmas trees in from other states, since most of the trees here are leafy ones. And a lot of people here in town use fake trees! Back home you can't go a mile without seeing a tree lot, but here you have to drive quite a ways just to find one.

So anyway, we find this guy's tree lot out in Smyrna and had no problem finding the perfect tree right away. I would say its close to 6 feet and it was surpringly only $40, which you all know back home is a pretty good deal for a noble. We got the tree home, made tacos for dinner and then Jason wanted to take me out someplace as a surprise. (That's Banks under the tree in the left corner of the picture.)

Jason definately surprised me, by taking me to Opryland Hotel. As we pulled up to the hotel, the lights outside alone were enough to take your breath away. Every Christmas Opryland Hotel decorates their lobbies and conservatories with TONS of lights and decorations. It was like walking through a mini disneyland it was so cool. We walked the entire hotel, which is not small by any means, and sipped coffee from a little cafe. I took a ton of pictures for you all to get an idea for what it was like.
This is Jason and I outside the hotel in front of this gigantic blue lit tree. I've included a picture of the whole tree, so you get an idea of just how huge it is - those little flowers at the bottom, is what we're standing in front of in the first picture of us and also in the picture with just Jason.
This is me in front of a beautiful gazebo inside one of the hotel's conservatories. The pose was special for Jason :-)
Here I am standing on top of one of the walkways over one of the three conservatories. If you look around the edge of the room, you will see the balconies and windows from the hotel rooms. And the ceiling is made of glass. Those are all hundreds of thousands of white lights strung from the ceilings with huge, white light ornament balls hanging throughout the room.
I also included a closer shot of the lights and you can see some of the stuffed animals and hot air balloons that also hung around the hotel. Isn't it gorgeous?
The hotel also has a huge waterfall and we walked into a tunnel that goes behind it. This is Jason in front of the rushing water. He looks like a total rockstar in this picture. I married such a hottie :-)
Finally, one last picture of Jason and I sitting in front of a teddy bear whose wearing a red top hat and striped scarf. Can you see him?
It was so much fun and we had a great time spending some good quality time together. Finally when it was close to 11, we headed back home and Jason began setting up the tree, as I couldn't help but fall asleep on the couch.
Around 2am Jason finished putting all the lights on - and its looks so beautiful! As you can see, Banks has made her home underneath the branches, for some reason its her favorite place to be during Christmas. Sunday was spent by decorating the apartment for Christmas and again I was good and remembered to take lots of pictures of how our home looks now for the holidays.

Meet our ducks Mr. Jones and family. Jason has developed a bit of a fetish for ducks, and I bought him his first one as a surprise about a month ago. Then we decided Mr. Jones was lonely and we added on a family. Aren't they cute?

Here we have the dining room table all ready to go for Christmas.

And this is our console table - once again, you'll notice the ducks.
And finally, before I forget - I just had myself another celebrity sighting! I just rode the elevator up with Sara Evans! She must have been on her way to her divorce lawyer, cause she got off on the 22nd floor and we're representing her husband Craig on our 28th floor. She is absolutely gorgeous and has lost a lot of weight even since Dancing with the Stars. I didn't say anything since she was talking with her friend and I didn't want to interrupt, but it was pretty freakin cool.
That's all I got for now. I hope you enjoyed the pictures!
Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Did She Mean It?

So other than the elections being the big talk around town, the other topic that is getting a ton of press around here is Faith Hill's reaction to Carrie Underwood winning Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMA Awards Monday night. Her reps are saying that she was only joking....ok. Watch the video below and tell me if you think her reaction was for real or not.

Other news - we booked our cabin for Christmas - yeah!!!! My husband is so awesome, check out the pictures below and see what a good job he did in finding us our cabin for Christmas~! It's called the Cherokee Lake Cabin and its in the Smoky Mountains, we'll be there for 4 nights!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

CMA Awards

Tonight is the much anticipated CMA awards hosted by Brooks and Dunn. And I hope to be leaving work early enough to not get stuck in too much traffic. The preshow starts around 6:30pm, and the actual show at 7. They're being hosted at the Gaylord Entertainment Center, which is only two blocks from where I work. I normally drive up 5th Street to head to the office, but today it was blocked off by police officers and the red carpet. It was kinda cool to see it being set up after watching it on TV for so many years. Our friend Jeff Batson is going tonight and taking his girlfriend Lindsey. Must be nice to afford tickets at $500 a pop!! Jason has already been seeing some of the celebrities here in town for the show. On Saturday night Jon Bon Jovi came into Mortons for dinner and on Sunday he told me that Kenny Chesney and George Strait had reservations for dinner. Jason was off last night, and we almost went into Mortons for dinner, but decided to have pizza at the Mellow Mushroom instead. Kati, you still breathing? :-) But we do plan on watching the Awards show from the comfort of our home and we've invited a few friends over to hang out with us.

It was a great weekend hanging with the hubby. We looked online for a cabin to rent in the Smoky Mountains over Christmas. We also checked out the local farmers market yesterday - yah, not so much. I had in my mind Pike Place, and it was more like a glorified garage sale. We still had a great time though and after pizza, we stopped at Starbucks and went to Target to buy some fun things for the apartment and then headed home to watch a disney flick - Eight Below. I don't recommend it - I cried and not just a few glistening tears either, like weepy crying. So much for staying safe with Disney. I also finished a puzzle that was started back when my inlaws were in town. I'm noticing a pattern here. They visit - we start a puzzle together - they leave - and Kim obsesses over finishing it. Not to long ago, my husband looks over at me and says, "you really are a grandma aren't you?" No comment. Wickie..wickie..wickie. They don't call me Grandma Scribbles for nothin.

A little update for those of you who don't know. A week ago, Jason and I had the opportunity to meet Billy Currington. He was having dinner at Mortons of course, and when I came to pick up Jason from work, I had brought a CD with me of a few of Jason's best songs. I walked over to Billy's table where Jason was talking with him and his girlfriend and Billy introduced himself. Girls, he's not as cute in person. We gave the CD to Billy and three days later (last Wednesday), Billy was at Big Yellow Dog Music publishing company, when the general partner and manager, Carla Wallace asked Billy if he had heard of any new writers. Billy remembered Jason's CD and retrieved it from his car and he and Carla listened to it. On Wednesday afternoon Jason got a call from Carla asking to meet with her on Thursday. They had their meeting and it seemed to go well. Jason brought a few more songs with him and she really liked some of what he's written. So where do we go from here? Carla has asked Jason to drop by some more of his music by her office and she would like to get to know him a bit better to see what he's about and more of his style. This is encouraging. What I'm learning from this music business, is you have to choose to see God in every circumstance and how He might be working in it. Here's where you come in. You all know Jason and how incredibly hard-working, dedicated and passionate he is about songwriting. Pray that God would show His favor in this situation and if it be God's will, that Jason would be offered a publishing/writing deal. One very exiciting and encouraging thing that we learned from this meeting was that when Carla pulled out the CD of Jason's music during their meeting, it was not the same CD Jason gave to BIlly. Billy had kept his copy and they made a seperate copy for Carla. Carla also told Jason that Billy really liked Right Where We Belong a whole lot. He should be starting on his next album in January, so it wouldn't be surprising if he was already looking for songs. AGAIN, pray for favor. This one divine appointment could possibly have two very significant outcomes. Either way, even if nothing comes of it, just knowing that this top executive at Big Yellow Dog wants to get to know Jason better and that Billy Currington really likes Jason's song is extremely encouraging. After all, we all know Right Where We Belong is a hit, its all just a matter of time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Shut Up and Sing

Tonight is just my thoughts.

This evening I joined a couple friends from work to see a documentary that was pre-released to Nashville. It's called "Shut Up and Sing", a documentary put out by the Dixie Chicks. Before you read any further, let me forewarn you, you may not agree with what I have to say.

Call me crazy, but for some reason, I guess I was expecting to see mostly loyal fans. Instead, it appeared I was walking into a theatre full of democrats and liberals with a political agenda. Sure, the audience didn't say anything themselves, instead they only sneered, laughed and cheered at anything portrayed negative toward the President. I can't help but feel sorry for the Dixie Chicks. I have always loved their music, and I think they are extremely gifted artists and musicians. But I'm also not surprised by the damage of Natalies comment back in 2001 where she said she was embarressed the President was from Texas. Does that mean that people were right to burn their music or ban them from radio stations? Not necessarily. Am I only friends with people that believe the way I do? Does every band I enjoy have the exact same belief system as me? No. And am I surprised?

But when it really comes down to this matter of the Dixie Chicks, its not about who was right or wrong. It's not about the Dixie Chicks apologizing to President Bush or taking back what they said or even the freedom of speech. Even President Bush himself was quoted in the documentary as saying, "Freedom is a two way street." And it is. But I think this is more about the fans and the bands relationship to them. The band decided to stand firm to a comment that Natalie, their lead singer, made about the President while in London, but what they didn't think about, was how that might affect their fans. It's not President Bush buying their albums, its not the radio stations putting money in their pocket - its the loyal fans that went out and bought their cds, paid for concert tickets, wore their t-shirts and watched their videos. I personally would have liked to see them make a come back. I truly believe that will only come by them making amends with the very ones who made them so successful...their fans. Maybe if this documentary was more geared in that direction, it would have a postive impact on their career and their future in music, instead I believe its drawing a political crowd, that only sees it as an opportunity to further their own agenda. It was sad. I'm afraid this will only seal their fate.

I think the Dixie Chicks intent is to release this film to express their feelings on how they were treated and where they stand with the public's reaction toward Natalies comment back in 2001, and win back the respect of their fans. Unfortunately, I don't believe that the audience this film will draw, is really all that interested. I strongly believe that the majority of those I watched the film with, could have cared less what the Dixie Chicks have been through or have any interest in their music at all. I would have loved to have seen a show of hands of who there owned any of their albums. I went tonight to here their story, not because I was a republican or a democrat, but because I am a fan. I wanted to give them a chance to make it right...with me as the fan. Not the president, not the radio stations, not anyone else. And I was a bit disappointed. I'm not going to burn my cds or boycott their songs, and I still enjoy the albums I have of theirs. But more than that, I believe the most important thing they could want from myself as a fan is my respect and out of that respect, my support. They let us down, not because they spoke their rights, but because they were ashamed and they told another country so. Together we stand, divided we fall. I believe the greatest division and defeat our country will face is from within.

I had hoped after watching this film, my faith in them would have been renewed and I would be inspired to buy their latest album. But instead, I left feeling defensive and jaded. I left with the impression that they were not after their fans respect - they are more after feeling justified. When you place yourself in a position to rely on the public as your means of success and wealth, then you have to realize that along with that, you place yourself in a position to be critized and judged for how you conduct yourself and what you say. Your fans become a means for your financial security and success, I guess you could say that would make them your boss. I could see how this could freak a celebrity out, there is an illusion that you don't have to answer to anyone - but like a boss, if you don't perform to the degree you're paid to, you'll ultimately lose your job. Are they victims of being treated like puppets on a string or do we only expect from them what is expected from us on a daily basis? Everyday, we abide by standards given our environment - dresscodes for work, professional conduct, customer service...a certain kind of conduct and performance is expected from us just as we expect from others in their own given environment. Like I mentioned before, the film made me feel sad. I don't believe they will accomplish what they've set out to do. And I don't believe they will ever be as great of a band as they once were without that relationship with their fans.