Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Christmas Niece

This is Millie McChesney, the newest addition to the Chez clan. My sister, Bryn, bought herself a pound puppy from the local animal shelter. She is an 11 week old Hound Mix, mostly Blue Tick and Hound pup. She has a case of kennel cough and pneumonia, but the antibiotics are working well and she is all puppy. She's the cutest damn macaroni you've ever seen!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Picture Tag: A Picture Really Is Worth A Thousand Words

The Explanation

My normal routine in the morning once I'm at work is to procure the necessary caffeinated beverage, turn on the computer, check email, then hit the blog scroll for updated posts. Sometimes a blog that I subscribe to leads to an other's blog which leads to an other's blog, much like Amazon's 'if you liked this, you might like this to' link. While following a link of bloggers, I ran across GingerMagnolia's blog post about a picture tag. The idea was that you are supposed to post the 6th photo on the 6th page of your computer’s picture files, and also on whatever photo-sharing website you use.

While writing this post I'm not at home. Therefore, I do not have my laptop in front of me. However, I do have some pictures on this particular computer and I do utilize a photo-sharing website. I have decided to complete this picture tag. The results brought back two very nostalgic moments for me. Both made me tear up a bit. Let me share with you.

Picture Tag #1: : The Photo-Sharing Site

Last year one of the High School's Business Partners (BP) sponsored a visitation trip to WVU. The BP (Business Partner) set some guidelines as to the students that would attend the trip. The High School pulls from some areas that are more poverty ridden than most other areas in Kanawha Valley. Some of our students will be first generation to graduate from high school. Some of our students want to go to college, but struggle to find enough financial aid. Many of our students that do realize that college is a possibility will be first generation college students and hopeful graduates. Most of our students go into the blue collar workforce, mostly the mines. Our BP wants to help change the attitude that college is an impossibility, by granting students the opportunity to see what else is out there, that there are other possibilities, goals, and dreams. Those of us at The High School are very grateful for what our BP and all of our other Partners do for the school and our students. So as I stated before, there were some guidelines.

1. Students needed to be Juniors.
2. Potential first generation college student.
3. Most likely their parents wouldn't or couldn't take them on college visitation days.
4. Teacher recommended.

Seeing that I am a WVU alum and I still have many connections to the University via friends who still live there and friends who work for the University, I was asked to put the trip together. I worked with the folks at the Visitors Resource Center in Morgantown and a friend works in an upper level of the University. If you haven't been to the new visitation center...go. They have put together a wonderful facility. It is very informative, great design, wonderful employees, and the ability to host a number of people and bring guest lecturers in. The director of the Center brought in a representative from the recruiting office and from financial aid to inform students of admission regulations and how to find the money to go to school.

To make a long story short, the students were treated to a Greyhound bus for transportation to and from Morgantown rather than the Cheese Mobile. (TeacherChez was grateful too!) They experience a day in the life of a college student. From touring classrooms and meeting current professors and students, having a one on one with WVU's then President, eating lunch in the Mountainlair with other students, to being able to walk on to Mountaineer Field with WVU's very own Mountaineer Brady Campbell. I took this picture as 28 kids walked through the tunnel that the band and football team walk through on Saturdays to enter and run around on Mountaineer Field! It was quite possible one of the coolest moments to experience and to see kids experience. I cried when I took the picture; it's a good thing I was in the back so the kids didn't see me. I doubt they would have minded, a few of the boys were shedding tears too.

Photo Tag #2: From My Hard Drive

My uncle has a new hobby...genealogy. In his search to find and document our roots, he has also been putting all of the family pictures on the Internet at a share-site, so that we can share them have them documented. As he updates, I have been snagging a few at a time for a project that I have in mind for the future.

The picture is of my grandparents in the very late '70's or the very early '80's. If you look to the right of the picture, I believe that is a 3-4 year old Chez. I was born in 1977. Therefore, I'm thinking this picture is most likely dated 1980. Nonetheless, I adore my grandparents. (Feel free to read my short story Dancing Lessons to determine exactly how much I adore them. It truly is a sweet story.) My grandfather is no longer with us. He lost a fight to Parkinson's when I was a junior in college. My grandmother has since remarried. Her husband happens to be one of my grandfather's best friends. It was awkward at first, but now it makes sense.

I can't remember exactly where this picture was taken, but it caught my grandparents sharing a very loving moment. They always were very much in love. It shows here. It makes my heart swell.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Want To Play A Game?

Evil Twin's Wife and several other local bloggers have been having some getting-to-know you fun on their blogs lately. They have been brave enough to allow someone to interview them and then pay the favor forward to a fellow blogger. Every interview consists of five questions and each interview uses five different questions. What a wonderful way to learn more about your blogging community and to put your own blogger butt in the hot seat!

I volunteered to let Evil Twin's Wife interview me and here is the outcome:

1. What would be your dream job?

I am a bibliophile as I mentioned in my last posting. I love books. I love the feel, the texture, the smell, the weight, the crinkle of the spine as you open it for the first time, all of it. I get lost in their stories. I have loved, hated, pitied, mourned many a character. Because of this love of reading, books, stories, and characters (both fictional and reality based) I have always wanted to open/own/run a book themed hot spot, a cross between a bookstore, a neighborhood tavern and eatery. New and used books to line the shelves and offer a warming environment adding to the decor. A beautiful wooded and mirrored bar that fantastically displays the preferred beverages of the neighborhood. Couches and chairs set up in very intimate settings to offer the ability to read alone, share a cup of coffee or adult beverage with a friend while discuss current events or the latest storyline for the book club. Tables sporadically placed throughout the space to allow for a lunch or dinner diners to partake in a menu displaying the best fusion of comfort and class. That would be my dream job.

2. If you could send a message to your 18 year old self, what would it be?

If I could send a message to my 18 year old self it would be "go a head and do it; you're are going to end up being A-OK, and better for all of the experiences. Be a little wild at time. Be a bit too cautious. Be a bit restless. Be a bit content. Be happy. Be sad. Be all of those things and more. Just continue to BE."

3. If you could purchase any item for yourself and money was no object, what would it be?

I would purchase one of the beautiful old houses on the East End and refinish, refurbish, redecorate it into my dream home. It would have to have a wrap around porch, ferns, and rocking chairs. I would create my library with the fireplace, floor to ceiling bookshelves, the rolling librarian's latter, and a desk with my computer so that I might begin to write again. I would create a warm, user friend kitchen that welcomed anyone who might want to use it. Bedrooms with the plushest colors and textures. I have to stop. I'm getting depressed.

4. What is your favorite kind of dessert (and be anything: cake, pie, pastry, etc)?

I don't have a very loud or big sweet tooth. However, if there is anything out there that I do crave on a rare occasion and when I see it on a menu, I can't resist it... A ROOT BEER FLOAT! Especially, if it is a fountain root beer float. There is nothing better in this world than that!

5. Do you have any odd phobias?

Yes. I'm neurotic with some phobias. I can't help it. I've learned to adapt.

a. I hate squishy cooked fruit. Wait, I hate cooked fruit period.

b. I don't like my food to touch on a plate. My mother broke me of the habit 30 years ago, but sometimes I still wish I could do this...use a different fork for every item on my plate.

c. I hate spider plants. They are scary at night.

d. The word j-u-i-c-y absolutely freaks me out. The sound that word makes is disgusting.

e. I have an unnatural fear of leaving for the weekend and coming back to see my house in flames. (This did actually happen recently. Nightmare to reality.)

f. MILK by itself is the most disgusting thing ever. Milk is to be cooked, baked, mixed with, not to drink plain. Vomit!

g. This isn't odd, but I am extremely claustrophobic both mentally and physically.

Evil Twin's Wife, thank you for developing and asking such thought provoking questions! I actually enjoyed answering them!


Are YOU ready to play the game????

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions. (don't forget to include your email).

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I <3 Books!

I am an obsessive reader. I read quickly. I read feverishly when it is a book that I love. I read with an appetite that devours every paragraph, sentence, word, letter. I have always been this particular brand of reader. When I was younger, my parents didn't take the T V away as punishment; they removed my books from my room.

I am a bibliophile. I have trouble borrowing books from the library because I like the feeling of owning a book and being able to pay that book forward to someone if I feel compelled to do so. My literary collection is massive and takes over many, many, many rooms in my house and one grandmother's attic. Relatives who have died have willed me their books collections. If ANOTHER fire were to take place in apartment building and it was to move beyond the kitchen, the amount of paper in my house would cause an implosion and the building would disintegrate in a matter of moments. I'm obsessed.

Books take on a life of their own. Stories are sometimes easier to deal with the reality of our own worlds. There are so many characters out there that I feel like they are family. There is a connection there, a bond, a definite attachment.

With all of this said there is no wonder that I managed to stumble upon the goodreads site a year or so ago. It was recommend to me by my friend, Mia. It is one of my favorite sites. If you aren't familiar with goodreads, it is a site that allows you to rate, review, and compare books. It is a social utility that connects you with people you may know or only know via a screen name. I think it is a great tool for discussion about literature and also as a means to determine what will be next.

Recently, goodreads added another feature to their site. The GIVE AWAYS section. Many publishing companies and authors are giving away copies of their books prior to publication. They ask, not require, that if you are a winner of a goodreads give away that once you have finished reading the book, to please give it a quick review. How easy is that?! The reader receives a free book and the author/publishing company gets some marketing and free press.

I was one of the lucky winners this week. I am anxiously awaiting The Longest Trip Home: A Memoir by John Grogan. He is the author of Marley and Me. How exciting! Now that I have won once, I'm hoping to receive the book, read it, review it, and win more! I visit the site daily to see what other authors are going to be giving away.

If you aren't registered on it. If you already are...look me up; let's compare our reading tastes. If you haven't submitted to win a give on explore books, give aways and get to the winning!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dave Thomas and His ART

Several posts ago, I introduced you to my very good friend, Dave Thomas. If you missed his introduction, simply click away right here. I strongly suggest that you check out his introduction to the blogosphere. He is an amazing artist, musician, and human being.

The reason I bring Dave back to the forefront of our minds is because he will be showing his work at Chet Lowther's Studio this weekend. Dave and Ian Bode, who is also a very talented individual, and Chet Lowther, the owner of the studio, will be showing their work this Friday (12/12) and Saturday (12/13) between the hours of 6pm and 9pm.

The Chet Lowther Studio is located at 223 1/2 Hale Street in downtown Charleston, WV. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pat McAfee for Ray Guy Award

* picture borrowed from

Let's help Patrick win the Ray Guy Award! Go here to vote for him today! Polls close on Thursday, December 11, 2008!

Congratulations WV First Lady of Soul!

One of West Virginia's very own has won The Obama Music, Arts, and Entertainment Competition! Lady D's original song, Go Higher, was inspired by President Elect Barack Obama. West Virginia's "First Lady of Soul's" winning song won by a mere 8 votes! To hear Lady D's winning song, go here. You can see Lady D perform Go Higher on Radio Free Charleston with Rudy Panucci! The website announces that they are working with Lady D and making arrangements for her to be present at the inauguration.

West Virginia, stand up and give this lady a round of applause!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Wish for 2009

This fantastically, wonderful phenomenon blew into Morgantown about a year before I blew out. However, when I made the move to Berkeley Springs, WV, I was pleased to find that just down the street, as in walking distance, was a SHEETZ! When time was an issue or I was too damn tired to make dinner for one, I would walk on down to THE Sheetz-iz, as the locals called it, and order a MTO Chicken Caesar Salad or wrap. It was even a great big deal when the local Sheetz-iz received their deep frier from head quarters; it made the dream of French Fries, Hashbrowns and other fried goodness a possibility. I have sincerely missed my MTOs since moving to Charleston. If I can have any wish for the upcoming year it would be for Sheetz to make it's way to Charleston. What will it take to get them here??? Do I need to start a petition? Overload them with email? Any suggestions?

I'm contemplating putting this T-shirt in the BoyFriend's stocking this year. He said between my iPhone and vampires he feels he's in second place. Awwwwww.