A little treat for Thanksgiving by Amy Atlas!

I am thankful for so many things, as you know, but most of all, my family and friends. No matter where you are, I am always thinking of you and thankful that I have you in my life!
To you and your family, from Joseph, the rabbits, and yours truly,



I've joined the ranks of women who've changed their natural hair
color! I've always been one to keep it simple, but I kind of like my
new red hair. I used a photo of Bonnie Wright as my inspiration, and
although her hair looks natural, I think this is a close as I can get
without going overboard. My new hairdresser is a friend and fellow
J.Crewzer who does amazing things with hair. Almost everyone at our
store gets their hair done by her and they all look brilliant! She
said in natural light my hair will look different, so I'm anxious to
see the results via daylight!!! I'm hoping this new red hair will
channel my inner Irish dancer - who I've named Orla. ;) which means
"golden queen/princess" even though I've passed down my title to
Ellie, I think it still stands true!

Famous Orlas in the world:


I'm gearing up for Black Friday! All the girls at the Crew are wearing sparkles, glitz, and bling for the big shopping extravaganza on Friday. I opted for the beaded reindeer tee and the starburst v-neck tee.

Tis the season!

Training Day 3

My beautiful view from my daily training. I got new glittens today,
glove + mittens so I can change my iTunes songs without taking off my
gloves. Plus my other Nike gloves had a huge hole in them :(

The video from Oireachtas is posted so you can see the tough
competiton. The girl in the white Bjork swan/cream puff/80's short wedding dress
won the 20 & over div. I think there were more talented dancers who
should have taken first, but that dress, fake tan, and barbie wig
gets some attention.

Speaking of fake, tomorrow I'm going red! I'll take pictures!

Pings party for Six!

Donald is in town for Thanksgiving! I'll post more later, but for now
Joseph is toasting his visit with a 2 Below, cheers!

To the Pointe; Angel Corella

My new obsession in the world of ballet is Angel Corella (link to video about A.C.) of the American Ballet Theater.

I watched Great Performances Swan Lake last night to conclude my weekend of dance-inspired events and to get geared up to see the Moscow Ballet Dec. 4. I'm slowly going through the collection of Angel Corella videos, including the romantic and tragic Romeo & Juliet seen above.

I'm not sure if my love for ballet comes from the costumes, the movement, the energy, the sensuality, or envy of dancers who reach such perfection and strength. Maybe this aspect alone has inspired me for my next chapter in dance. I've started my training for dancing - day 2. I'm so inspired that it has brought me to act of running. If you know me at all then you know that I detest running. With that said, watching ballet and the Irish dancers this weekend has stirred a desire to "want to be more, want to do more."

In another life I would adore being a ballet dancer. I'll save those thoughts for my dreams.

Oireachtas 2009

Ladies 8 hand cross reel with coach Mark

Our best 8 hand yet

Leap of Faith during cross reel

Taking 2nd place at awards ceremony

Mark, far left, qualifying for Worlds in Scotland! Congrats!

Sunday, at last... This weekend of Irish dancing has worn me out completely, but has given me inspiration.

Our dance team performed the 8-hand cross reel against 5 other teams on Saturday morning. It was our best performance yet and everyone was beaming. To me it didn't matter if we placed first or last because I had so much fun. I could barely contain my happiness on stage!

The big event for the day was the dance dramas performed by several schools throughout the Western region. The dramas consisted of experienced dancers to small children, and ranged in genres from traditional Irish themes to a recreation of the movie Chicago. Our school performed two pieces, the Battle of the Birds and Seamus and the Magic Pipes. Neither placed, but they definitely won the cute factor - we were the only dance drama with small children dressed like sheep. It was great.

Much later that night, all the wigged-out, fake orange tan, tacky dress Irish dancers piled into one large ballroom for the awards ceremony. To my surprise, the ceremony opened with a huge dance party consisting of YMCA, Macarena, and the kicker, Barbie Girl by Aqua. I've never seen a sea of bouncing wigs before, but I guess there is a first for everything.

Our ladies figure ended up recalling and placing 2nd out of 5, so we were very happy, but I could tell that some of my teammates really wanted first. I understand, but I'm just not that competitive. It was a very fun day and I got a medal out of it, so life this weekend was good to me.

This afternoon our coach and friend, Mark, danced his heart out against boys half his age in the Men's 20 & O opens. I don't know the results, but the fact that he was dancing in that league was impressive enough for me, and a huge inspiration.

As of today, I am no longer an adult dancer - I have dropped down and will begin my career dancing with 20 & O ladies. I think I might have to start as a Novice, but one of the teachers said I might be able to start right away in Prizewinner (Novice, Prizewinner, Prelim, then Open). I've got a lot of work ahead of me, but it is about time I take the plunge. It will be gratifying and challenging and hopefully fun in the process.

Dance Drama from Oireachtas

I'll post more in a few, but for now here is a picture of our dance

John Lennon's Jukebox

A looong while back Joseph and I watched this amazing show about an old jukebox which belonged to John Lennon. I think there is something magical about a little treasure that tells a story like Lennon's jukebox. Watching this show made me feel as if the jukebox was breathing and living still, giving new life to old things, not to be forgotten.

You can watch all the videos HERE, so enjoy. It's worth it. Da, I hope you've seen this!

In 1989, a Bristol music promoter purchased at auction an old Discomatic jukebox owned by John Lennon in the 1960s. Its track list, written in Lennon's own hasty handwriting, catalogued 41 remarkable discs of American soul, R&B, and rock 'n' roll -- a collection that shaped his musical education and became the musical style source from which the Beatles sound derived. Below is a complete list of all the 45s included in the jukebox.

  1. "In the Midnight Hour"
    Wilson Pickett

  2. "Rescue Me"
    Fontella Bass

  3. "Tracks of My Tears"
    Smokey Robinson

  4. "My Girl"
    Otis Redding

  5. "1, 2, 3"
    Len Barry

  6. "Hi Heel Sneakers"
    Tommy Tucker

  7. "Walk"
    Jimmy McCracklin

  8. "Gonna Send You Back to Georgia"
    Timmy Shaw

  9. "First I Look at the Purse"
    The Contours

  10. "New Orleans"
    Gary "U.S." Bonds

  11. "Watch Your Step"
    Bobby Parker

  12. "Daddy Rollin' Stone"
    Derek Martin

  13. "Short Fat Fannie"
    Larry Williams

  14. "Long Tall Sally"
    Little Richard

  15. "Money (That's What I Want)"
    Barrett Strong

  16. "Hey! Baby"
    Bruce Channel

  17. "Positively 4th Street"
    Bob Dylan

  18. "Daydream"
    The Lovin' Spoonful

  19. "Turquoise"

  20. "Slippin' and Slidin'"
    Buddy Holly

  21. "Be-Bop-A-Lula"
    Gene Vincent

  22. "No Particular Place to Go"
    Chuck Berry

  23. "Steppin' Out"
    Paul Revere

  24. "Do You Believe in Magic"
    The Lovin' Spoonful

  25. "Some Other Guy"
    The Big Three

  26. "Twist and Shout"
    The Isley Brothers

  27. "She Said "Yeah""
    Larry Williams

  28. "Brown Eyed Handsome Man"
    Buddy Holly

  29. "Slippin' and Slidin'"
    Little Richard

  30. "Quarter to Three"
    Gary "U.S." Bonds

  31. "Ooh My Soul"
    Little Richard

  32. "Woman Love"
    Gene Vincent

  33. "Shop Around"
    The Miracles

  34. "Bring It on Home to Me"
    The Animals

  35. "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody"
    James Ray

  36. "What's So Good About Goodbye"
    The Miracles

  37. "Bad Boy"
    The Miracles

  38. "Agent Double O Soul"
    Edwin Starr

  39. "I've Been Good to You"
    The Miracles

  40. "Oh I Apologize"
    Barrett Strong

  41. "Who's Lovin' You"
    The Miracles

Winter Lesson, Da Darling

I'm gearing up for my next lesson for the little kids - we are traveling to Russia for the winter months ahead. I debated taking them to Lapland or Norway, but the resources are more difficult to come across. So Russia it is, darlings! And of course when I say traveling, I really mean teaching them units about these far-off destinations, relating it to art appreciation.

I'm not sure about the specifics yet, but I thought it would be fun to hit areas of architecture with watercolor St. Basil's Cathedral, performing arts and literature with the Nutcracker story/ballet (as well as contemporary takes on this classic story), and of course what Russian lesson would be complete without a Matryoshka? I've already loaded tons of books onto my waiting list at the library, gathered lesson plan ideas, and checked my art education standards. There are so many resources, projects, and articles, that the LA Times referred to it as Matryoshka Madness. Artists have given their take on the nesting dolls FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, (some suck, but as a whole they are an interesting collection). I am positive the kids will like it and produce some amazing art in the meantime! Here are some cute videos about Matryoshka dolls (not necessarily for the kids, but fun nonetheless).

Tuesday Tunes

Remember Rave On by Buddy Holly? Here's an updated version by M. Ward, Hold On. I'm a traditionalist in some cases, so I like the original, of course. But it's always refreshing to hear a new take on things. Enjoy.

My fellow J.Crewzer, Kelly, and I have been breaking down the playlist at work. We discussed our favorites and not-so favs and both agree that Camera Obscura is the creme de la creme. I've also latched onto David Bowie once more, some oldies, but goodies that I haven't listened to since high school, and The Postmarks' charming little song, Winter Spring Summer Fall.

I have more waiting for me at Eugene Field so you can guess what I'll be doing today after work! I love the library and my darling librarians. They all have their strange quarks.

The White Stuff

A Brilliantly white Sunday morning.

Ski day!

Enjoying the freshy nar nar at Keystone! Happy Saturday everyone!

A Whale of a Time


Bree's Book List

Sometimes the books they tell you to read in high school are good and sometimes they are such a snooz! I'm not the biggest fan of The Great Gatsby, I think This Side of Paradise is a more interesting Fitzgerald choice. Other good ones that should be on the lists more often: Lolita by Nabokov, The Count of Monte Christo by Dumas, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, the Town and the City by Jack Kerouac, Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe. I finished Gone with the Wind not too long ago and it was great!! I'm now reading a biography on Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, by Amanda Foreman, and am hoping to get to The Magus by John Fowles and The Waves by Virginia Woolfe.

Thank you, Bree!

man cannot see the depths of the ocean

I've never read Moby Dick, and to be honest with you, I'm not that interested. Somewhere along the way I feel that I've failed at reading the classics. I'm a horrible reader, but I love vividly wild tales. I remember very few, The Crucible, The Scarlet Letter, Shakespeare, Secret Garden, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, The Red Badge of Courage, and of course The Catcher in the Rye (you may appreciate this article from NY TIMES, Get a Life Holden Caulfield). There are others, I know, because Sycamore High School had standards (I'm third generation, after all). I bet if Bree was writing this, she'd be able to list countless books!

Maybe I should start reading more... any suggestions? Where to start?

“The Catcher in the Rye,” published in 1951, is still a staple of the high school curriculum, beloved by many teachers who read and reread it in their own youth. The trouble is today’s teenagers. Teachers say young readers just don’t like Holden as much as they used to. What once seemed like courageous truth-telling now strikes many of them as “weird,” “whiny” and “immature.”

Today's Lesson

Patrick is always giving me new songs to listen to from a wide variety of genres. I cherish all the mixes he has made for me! My goal is to find tunes for him to listen to, which his wife, Jaren, told me is virtually impossible! He is in the know! He spends much of his time reading the latest in music and trying out new bands - then distributes them to me :) It is tough to beat his superior expertise! I must mention that Patrick's band, Makeout Point, plays their first show this December! Rock on!

Today I'm listening to a play list from Public School, a website I frequent. Notice the bonus track* Marty Robbins! The Pings will appreciate that!

What's in the Kitchen?

Aren't these charming? I appreciate their simplicity!
Czechoslovakian and Polish Labels

Last night after work I picked up the long-awaited DVD release of Two Fat Ladies, one of the first cooking shows I remember watching with mom and dad, before I thought cooking shows were cool. I'm on season 2 already, and I have to say the Two Fat Ladies, Clarissa and Jennifer are charming and so brilliant. What great personalities! And what great food!

A tasty blend of cookery and hilarity, Two Fat Ladies was a hit on British and American television in the 1990s. Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright traveled around Britain on a motorbike with sidecar, preparing sumptuous feasts for all kinds of folks from lumberjacks to monks. Their recipes were never pretentious and always full of big old-fashioned flavor. Set includes all 24 episodes; approx. 12 hours 11 min. on 4 DVDs. As Jennifer would say, Quelle treat! Seen on public television. Available at http://www.acornonline.com !

Beer Here

Last night I stumbled across these old adverts for Cinci Cream. I've never heard of it, let alone tried it! Joseph said that Cincinnati used to have amazing breweries due to the Germany population. It is a shame that for the most part, they've all gone. I know there is a push to reintroduce Cincinnati beers, and I hope to see a revolution in Cincinnati micro brews.

Cheers! Or should I say Prost!


I am not referring to myself, but Robert, Bob, Stace, or better known to me as Grandpa Stacey. Just the other day while folding clothes (notice the J.Crew theme) I tucked down the arms of a soft navy blue sweater. Immediately a flow of memories from childhood overcame me. Memories of sitting on Grandfather's lap, listening to stories about Australia, boats, horses, and farms, touching his soft hands, and looking at his silver watch. I remember so vividly hearing Reds games in the background and his smell, a combination of cologne and gin, spices and aromas still on his navy sweater from something very Julia Child-esque cooking in their small kitchen. It saddens me that I didn't know him for long enough. He will never know me as an adult, know Joseph, our children, or know how close mom and I are. But I consider myself happy to remember little things about him. I'm sure we would get along well and have some pretty amazing conversations.

Currently I regret to say I do not have any photos of my Grandfather Stacey. However, I have a large project of scanning and uploading photos to Flickr of Meyer, McCoy, Scott, and Stacey pics from yesteryear. I'll keep you posted when this happens.

A Simple Tune

I just realized how much I love singing. Since working at J.Crew I have found myself singing uncontrollably to the surprisingly good playlist. I blame this on father, his love for music and singing, Apple for singing to him, and the Beatles. My childhood memories include listening to amazing 60's LPs, making little colorful walls with the album covers, falling asleep to father signing "Her Majesty" (and countless, seriously countless other songs), and waking up to Little Lulu "always in and out of trouble, but mostly always in".

On our adventures throughout the many hidden treasures of Cincinnati we would drive and he would sing. I would listen and learn. I don't think it was until much later that I appreciated those things. I might not have the voice that father has, but I do love a nice little tune. Still to this day I can't really hear Paul McCartney's voice in "I Love Her", I hear father's.

One of my ex-students, now in college, shared with me how envious he is that I was able to grow up with this amazing genre of music (from the 60's). And I have to admit, yeah, I'm pretty lucky to have cool hippie parents who let me listen to their music - a part of their world. Throughout their continuous parenting, they have certainly taught me a lot, but I'll save that for another post...

Enjoy some classic Beatles, my favorites from euphoric childhood memories.

White and Fluffy


Kari's Christmas Tradition
From the time I was little we would always go cut down a tree. They always had the tall skinny trees and we had the short lopsided ugly ones- always our favorites. My mom always packed a thermos of hot chocolate.
Rabbits and snow... ah... some of my favorite things!

We were scheduled for some flurries this evening, but so far we've had a nice sunset and a nice chill in the air. All the stores are decorated with lights and tinsel, Christmas music is already in the air. Working at the mall has me thinking about the holidays. The Pings family is planning on cutting down our own tree this year! We have to get permits before it's too late! Mr. Pings also reserved tickets to see the Moscow Ballet perform the Nutcracker! I've asked father to record a holiday CD with some classics so we can listen to it while decorating the house. The holidays are the best time of the year!

What are some of your holiday traditions? Favorite holiday music? Tastiest winter food/drink?

Moscow Ballet

What Dreams May Come

Today I'm missing Apple...

Since September I've dreamt of seeing Apple (our grandma) numerous times. Last night I had yet another dream of seeing her with the family. In one part of my dream the entire family was across the street from Apple's house, enjoying an afternoon picnic in the sun. My imagination created this amazing little stream that the children raced boats on, little tents filled with lemon ice and sweets, airplanes flew around us, and we sat on vivid green grass. It was very relaxed and everyone was happy. Other dreams she has shown up in a grocery store with a big list of items being checked off one by one with a pencil. She doesn't talk to me, just keeps drawing lines on her paper, leaning on her cart, smiling and humming.

Another dream was around the holidays, with snow fluttering outside, Christmas lights, and family members taking pictures (I'm not the only one taking photos in a dream world)! The family was gathered to watch a Christmas performance of Ellie's school play! Although the dreams were very happy and I woke up feeling a sense of love and euphoria, it made me sad that I couldn't talk to Apple in my dream. We used to have conversations in my moments of slumber, but since September that has been silenced. I'm not sad that she isn't on my speed dial, she won't be there on holidays, or that she won't send cards in the mail anymore, but it is difficult to let go of those nice little conversations we had. I know everyone feels the same :)

New (to me)

I'm a collector of blogs and websites, and these little gems are some of my new favorites! I love the family trees from My Tree and Me - what a perfect gift!