Tuesday, May 31, 2011

At the end of the day... I have chosen a WINNER!!

No actually, I randomly selected the winner from an official box. That's right... I copped out. Listen. The submissions were all equally and incredibly impressive and lets be honest, there was absolutely NO WAY I could've made this decision on my own. So I enlisted the help of Fate and Destiny... as well as two friends and a Dawn of the Ted official box. Just go with it...

First, I would like to illustrate how this very scientific process of Les Miserables ticket selection went down. I have created photo documentation of the process and may even submit the formalized method for publishing. We shall see, we shall see.

First, enters indecision, contemplation, and deep-thought:

Second, enters complete confusion, indecision, and perplexity:

But never FEAR!

Third, enters bright idea!

Fourth, the selection process begins... in a very serious (apparently a little angry) fashion.

And FINALLY... the selection is MADE!!

A fine selection indeed! 
  My only regret is that I could not provide and/or take every awesome entree with me. I thought through this and felt that you each deserved some sort of prize anyway for taking the time to indulge my contest. And so... I have posted a rare video of an alligator in its true habitat: Cypress Gardens, South Carolina. I have taken it upon me, as many a discoverer would, to christen said Gator with a new name. Listen carefully... and enjoy the thrill!

What a great prize!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I dreamed a dream in times gone by... (about the Contest I kinda forgot about until just now)

And then time just keep going by and SUDDENLY, it's the end of May and I have a promised contest to follow through with! Listen ya'll, sorry to keep you waiting so long (and I'm SURE you've had many a sleepless night wondering when I will post the contest to "Win a date with Andrea Cox... OR Jean Valjean... whomever suits your fancy"), but I've had stuff okay. And a few things. School is always one of the bigger things, and then I went to Charleston on vacation and THEN, I've been packing to move into a house like, tomorrow, so listen, excuses excuses but they's be legit. Patience is a virtue... yada yada yada. "But you yada, yada'd over the best part! No, I mentioned the bisque"(name that TV series!).

Here's a picture from Charleston though - just to wet your palette for that post.

Now! On to what's in it for YOU!

I've given some great thought to this - and have come up with a contest of epic proportions! I need to know that whomever gets these tickets will NOT only appreciate such a grand gesture a la moi, BUT, will also enjoy Les Miserables for all its amazing artistry, musicry, and other-rys.

That said...

Here's some rules/logistics/etc:

First, the show is at 6:00pm, Sunday, June 5th at Capitol Theater. So, don't go attempting to win this ticket and then text me the night before "derrr... I planned my vacation to Tibet a couple months ago and turns out I'm leaving tomorrow..." cause that will cause me angst and mostly annoyance. We'll call that Rule #1 - YOU MUST COMMIT! I realize by uttering that phrase I've just weeded out the majority of you. Excellent.

Rule #2 - Dinner is not required beforehand though those who offer said extravagance may get extra points. What? I'm GIVING you a ticket to Les Miserables - FLOOR seats! With ME! No I'm totally kidding. If we care to go eat we can do it Dutch. This is for fun ;) So no obligation dudes... OR chicks.

Rule #3 - You will not under any circumstance wear jeans, a hoodie, tennis shoes, gym shorts, beanies, or neglect to bath prior to said event. I'm somewhat of a cultural snob when it comes to performance attire and feel that at the very least you should attempt to look like you haven't been sleeping on the streets for months... or just came from a Rugby game... or rolled out of bed after 3 days playing Gears.... have a little pride in yourself, man!

Rule #4 -  I'd like you to be a man (as in the gender - not as in "don't be a wuss") - but hey - I could always use a few more friends so girls - you can go ahead and apply and I'll throw you into the pot anyway. Why does it have to be a man? Well, because this is my attempt at the continual battle to "put myself out there." I'm all about goals.

Alright - thems be the rules. NOW! Here's what you gots to do if you're still interested in attending Les Miserables with me on June 5th.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Friday, May 27th. And if anyone knows me and knows where I work and the kind of English teacher I would've been and the kind of Professor I WILL be... then you KNOW I DO NOT accept late work.

Contest Itself
This contests consists of two parts: short answer and photo.

Short Answer
Merely answer the below 4 questions in one or two short sentences. Not so hard right? Why must you jump through this hoop? Well, it will help me gauge your desire to see Les Miserables as well as entertain me greatly. And I like to be entertained.

1. If you were sentenced to 20 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread for your starving family, what would you do to pass the time?

2. If you were Master of the House, which of the below would you offer to guests first and why?
     a. I would do out the charm! Even though I have no idea what exactly that requires
     b. I would offer a handshake, naturally
     c. I would tell a saucy tale!

3.  What would your Castle in the clouds contain?

4. What are you at the end of the day and why?
     a. I'm another day older - that's about it.
     b. I'm another day colder - because it won't stop RAINING IN SLC! FREAKING!
     c. I'm looking towards another day dawning

Bonus: When do the tigers come?

Alright! Go to! Be creative or correct, or both! And if this seems too much of an effort, well I guess you don't REALLY want to go now do you ;) I didn't think so.

Go ahead and email me a photo that says to me "I want to go! Pick me!" Again, I like to be entertained. Here are some excellent examples:

Or perhaps...


Here's how you get your pictures and answers to me:
First, you comment on this post by exclaiming "24601!!!" as well as your answers to the questions above. 
Second, go ahead and email me your cute little faces. Send 'em here: andreajolene@gmail.com

Alright mes amis. I'm excited to hear your answers and see your pretty little faces. I'm ever more excited to go to Les Miserables and take one of you with me. All signs point to good times. Bon Chance!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

To Begin...

 This weekend, my dream of continuing to further my education ascended one more ladder rung. On Friday, I commenced... walked... took the next step... evolved... graduated... proceeded... progressed, and any other word connoting "move forward." Mr. Webster defines the word commence as "to begin", which I find appropriate in every way. Though many of us (grads) felt we were closing a chapter, finishing our degree... it was really much more of a beginning of something else. It's a starting line. We are moving forward into the unknown. Rather than "finishing" my MPA I am "beginning" something new and can finally be part of that old fail-safe eye-rolling cliche "it is not the end... but only the beginning." And it really is. In a less ominous but still sort of free-failing type way. School is an anchor for me... and I guess it's time to pull up anchor and sail on. And I think I'm ready to move on... whatever "moving on" really means.

Here are some of the memories:
Ms. Kelsey and I, classmates and buddies. Both SO happy to be graduating.

I'm ready for my close-up... in the sun...
My madre and me. Aren't we a couple of hotties? I was attempting a SMIZE.

Left to right - Grandma Jo, Grandpa Petty, Nick (brother), and that hottie in the pink is yours truly.

Grandma Jo, Me, and Grandpa
 Honestly, I'm pretty proud of myself. Not an entirely encouraged Christina value, pride; but hey, turns out getting a Master's degree is HARD WORK! And anyone who embarks on the journey that is higher education, whether it be Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Ph.d (shudder), and finishes the journey, deserves to pat themselves on the back a little bit... and for some a lot. Particularly when I think back on this past semester; I submitted approximately 95 pages worth of written work. That's ONE semester. I wish I were exaggerating, but the twitch in my eye is a reminder of the many MANY late nights and 8 hour days working on paper after paper... 36 of those pages dedicated to my Major Research Paper (i.e. thesis to put it in perspective) which I submitted the day before commencement. In addition to those 90 some-odd written pages, I probably read a little over... oh man... 5,000 pages of text? Give or take? Wow. I think my other eye started twitching at the memory of all that. Calm down little twitches... it's over now... all over. Well... FOR now.

So I'm finishing... and also beginning. And I'll be honest, I'm not ENTIRELY done so I guess there's a slim chance I could ridiculously fail my 3 weekend Capstone course or my Public Budgeting class this summer, but I'm going to go ahead and say that's NOT going to happen. After a semester like this, lets just say its like signing up for a 5k after running a marathon. It's like going from a chain-smoker to slowly easing out of the habit so your body doesn't totally freak out. Right? Just got to ease on out of "school mode" and thus the summer classes will help me do that... begin filling in what was once "school time" with "leisure reading time... weekend movie night time... Boxing is for Girls time (MORE!)... training for half marathon time... volunteering time.... dating time (?? ha...er... yes! As soon as the eye twitches stop)... writing time... writing time... and enjoying the beauty of summer time." It's a fearful and exciting prospect to have such discretionary time! Even today, my first weekend WITHOUT reading or writing, I feel sort of lost... even bored... and a little anxious thinking there's probably something I should be doing or reading but really, there's not. There's NOT! There's really nothing I "have" to do... and I hope I don't discover that school being my anchor may have functioned in some way as my self-contained cocoon. A safety net of "have to's" and "sorry I can't's." For the past 2 years I of schooling, it was something to run to when I didn't want to face other things... it was steady and legitimate and understandable. It was accepting and validating. I put in the work and received the reward. There was little risk and a lot of solidarity. School made me feel valuable and contributing. But now, now I guess I'll have to face some realities that school helped blur a little. I may have to stop making excuses and start participating... an entirely new eye twitch.

There's also my future to consider. The question posited to every grad upon their commencements is "So, now what?" Hmmm, now what. Now what. Now what. I'll be honest, I've thought through some things - and being a planner and a doer - always having this or that goal to be working towards... I'm drawing a blank this time. The future for me, it's bright I know that, but it's also obscured. Now what? Hmmm, I dunno. I guess I just get to live and see what life chooses to do with me. Maybe let fate... or destiny... or God... or whatever force it is you believe shapes or paths, have greater control of the reigns for awhile and see what pans out. Ph.d? Well, yes... it's there. It's out there floating with other things and it will happen. Probably sooner rather than later unfortunately because as much as school is an anchor, it's also a key to the future I envision. One surrounded my classrooms and eager students and research and academia and cheese parties. The next great American Novel? Yep. Out there too. And I've never had such a thought as "I'm going to focus on writing" as I have this year. And I'm scared out of my mind to start taking writing seriously. But what better time then at the beginning? Career? That tends to shape its own course... and the shape right now is still where I want to be. Travel? Hell yes!! There's never soft edges around that decision. No not ever.

So even with all this future haze and a little fear and anxiety sprinkled with excitement, possibility, and always a dash of faith... I will continue to commence... to finish... and at the same time to begin. I guess it's time to get started!

(And yes... you may refer to me as Master Cox ;) if you so desire)

Monday, May 2, 2011

"I haven't got hair, I've got feathers..."

An e-high five to whomever can name that movie! In fact, I'll give you two e-high fives because that's a rather obscure quote. My old school-pal chum Ashlee will know it immediately - can any of you beat Ashlee? Doubt it! Here's another hint: There's something wrong with this yogurt... it's not yogurt... it's mayo-naise.

Go on!

Next, I'd like to tell you a tragic story. I know it's Monday and the last thing you need is a story of woe and misery, but never the less I'd like to share. Please adjust your perspective to "first-world" thank you.

For the last year, I've been in a serious battle... a battle with my hair. Let me tell you a little bit about my hair - it's thick. And I mean THICK. I have A LOT of hair... lots... A LOT of it. Every 6 weeks I have my hairdresser "razor it down" or I start looking like a poof. Not a good look. Also, I generally keep it above the shoulder. It's easier and I just feel I'm a short hair kind of gal, ya know? I'm also a short gal and short hair on short gals is a win win. But for the last year, I suddenly became very envious of girls with long thick hair. I thought, "Hey! My hair's already thick... now it just needs to be long and I can look luxurious and feminine like those mermaid hair girls." Well Internet, therein lies the tragedy.

Fail. Fail. Fail.

Honestly, I tried... to an extent... but really... mostly just hated my hair for about a year. It was an awkward length. You know, the length that just cries "indecisive!" or "non-committal!" or "given-up!" I've been of the mind you either have long hair (to the shoulders and beyond... but NOT past mid-back over age 13... for the love) or short hair (just below the chin and up). Thus, hair lengths landing at some awkward in between stage just means you're tyring to cling to some girlish long-hair fantasy (me) and not ready to enter the world of short haired professionals. Only celebs can pull of long luscious hair after 30 because they are celebs. Right? Forever youthful - or forever chasing youth - with a team of groomers always on hand. I'm not saying it can't be done over 30, but it is a rare and lovely individual who can do it. And I envy those lovely individuals.

Turns out...

I'm NOT one of those individuals.

So Friday, I'd had it. I've felt I always have three physical assets I've always admired: 1. my long dark eyelashes... eat your heart out, 2. freckles... I like freckles, and 3. thick, fast-growing hair. Well, my assets had been reduced to two for a year and along with it, the spunk and sass I've so come to enjoy about moi. My hair did not say sass... instead it said "wah wah... boring boring... non-committal." The time had come.

I chopped... I colored... and I feathered.

That's right!

I cut that hair off right to the nubbins! No... not the nubbins... but shorter than I've had it in a loooong time. Since the days of Provo... and I liked my hair in Provo. I also hit it up with some lovely highlights and reds... and then for good measure... attached a feather or two. No really, I attached some feathers and I can PROVE it! First, a disclaimer: the below pictures are total crap because my office lighting is in large part destined to make any average to semi-good looking individual appear Gollumy; sickly and droopy eyed. Couple that with my inordinate ability to take really horrible pictures in general, and you get the below. It's genetic. My mom doesn't take good pictures either. But I wanted to show you the feathers so I took one for the team. I really like them - and apparently feathering the hair (non-80's style) is like, so totally like, IN right now. In fact, I saw some blond spunk of a girl at Church yesterday that had herself a little feathery insert as well (insert? Hmmm, word choice). You could say I'm on the DL when it comes to feather accessories. A rather noble distinction. And might I just say that reactions have been ridiculsouly positive? This means one of two things; first, this is the best hair decision I've made in years and/or second, it's so terrible that people have to be overly enthusiastic about it to hide their disgust. I'd like to think it's the latter...

Here it is... or I am... rather:

Can you detect my "Smize" in this pic? I tried to smize.

The battle is won! Andrea: 1; Drab, Boring Hair: 0 Feathers: 2... Osama bin Laden: ZERO!! Mwah!