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Big-footed sisterhood -- shun Paris... 3.29.2008 |

If you've met me or seen me lumbering down the street, you know that petite is hardly a word that describes Cherish Wilson. In heels, which I frequently wear for work, I'm at the 6'1'' to 6'3'' mark. Barefoot, I stand at 5'11''. So, I'm tall. Not freakishly so, in my opinion, but taller than the average woman.

With my height comes numerous benefits -- I rarely have to ask for help reaching things. It is easy to spot me in a crowd. Most designers now carry a TALL size, so my pants reach past my ankle bone. No one, props their elbow on my head.

It also comes with a few bothersome simple facts -- people always asked if I play basketball. My hands are rather large and my fingers...well, they aren't spindley...but they're very long. (A nickname, bestowed by a well-meaning friend is 'spidermonkey'). If I'm driving another person's car, there are always a good 5 to 10 minutes of adjusting their seat so that my knees aren't under my chin and my head isn't sticking out the sun roof.

Through the years I've found there is only one real disadvantage to my height. And oh, how it plagues me. When I was younger, it caused a level of self-consciousness rivaled in my peers by severe acne or perhaps an extra head. Now that I'm older, it is still the butt of jokes by my co-workers (Graham). I confess to you now, in hopes my sisters will unite and rise together...

I have big feet.

Now, for my frame they don't look so out of place. But set my foot down next to the average woman's...and it's embarrassing. Hell, set it down by the average man's foot and I'd probably give him a run for his money. (But big hand and big feet...I swim like a fish.)

As I fluctuate between size 11 to 11 1/2, outfitting my feet in the latest fashions is sometimes difficult. It's always been this way. For my age I've always had a long, wide foot. Shoe salesladies would 'tut, tut' while measuring my foot. Quietly, they'd suggest something less fashionable, more orthopedic-looking apologizing that it appeared nothing else would fit me. My aunt and grandmother would travel to bigger cities, more specialized boutiques to find me Sunday shoes and summer sandals.

Nowadays, when I find a shoe that fits and looks good, I'm willing to drop any amount of money on the pair. It's my only respite. You can fix a hook nose, you can augment lop-sided breasts, you can suck half a human in fat out of your thighs, you can lose the four-eyes and have LASIK, there is even a surgery that can elongate stubby legs and make you taller.

But the truth remains: ain't no fixin' big feet.

So, imagine my delight to find out that Paris Hilton was coming out with a line of designer shoes.

Don't follow me?

Friends, Paris Hilton is one of those big-footed sisters I was talking about. She wears a size 11.

Hilton (and I) shares a size 11 status with Tyra Banks, Adrianne Curry, Geena Davis, Famke Janssen, Gabrielle Reece, Meg Ryan, Uma Thurman and Kate Winslet (even tiny little Audrey Hepburn wore a 10 1/2).

Admittedly, shoe size is probably all I have in common with any of those women.

Back to Paris' shoe line...go ahead Google it...on Zappos.com...they only go up to size 10! I know this is still large for most of you. But when you wear an 11...it's a slap in the face. After a lot of digging, I've found a vendor that has some 11's but they're limited in color and style. (Kitson is a good boutique site, by the way.)

It should be raining sizes 11 and 12s over there. That's all I'm saying.

Am I right, big-footed sisterhood?

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Break a leg... 3.14.2008 |

Tonight’s the night. It all comes down to this. The orchestra and the pit. The cast and the stage. The crew and their headphones. Me and my bench.

It’s been quite a ride. I’ve fallen in love with the whole Shelby drama department. I’ve been allowed to be a part of the production as it went from stilted skit to honest-to-goodness, bona fide production. And it’s been fantastic.

Now, it’s time to take all I’ve learned from Kathie Burgin, Steve Padgett and Traci Aderholt and all I’ve learned from each cast and crew member and take to the stage.

On one of my favorite shows, Mythbusters, it’s common for one of the hosts to ‘give the odds.’ He’ll list off possible outcomes and their likelihood in percentages. Through careful planning and experience, the intended outcome is usually the favorite. Often receiving odds of 85 percent. The more outlandish the outcome, the smaller the percentage.

For me, the possibility my time on stage and Oklahoma! go off without a hitch is clocking in at about 89 percent.

I give 4 percent that I trip on my very long dress. Another 4 percent that I’ll trip someone else with my very long dress. There’s a 2 percent chance I fall into the orchestra pit in a whirl of floral pattern and clumsy. The final 1 percent goes to the outcome I actually give into my unwarranted stage fright and spend opening night hyperventilating in a costume closet.

To see how my predictions turn out, come see Oklahoma! and enjoy the show in Malcolm Brown Auditorium on Shelby High’s campus.

Tonight and Saturday, the show begins at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $7 for students (and worth every penny. It’s a heck of show even if I don’t take a header into the pit.)

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Wreck on E. Marion |

eGreen Resources! 3.13.2008 |

TreeHugger is the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream. Partial to a modern aesthetic, they strive to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information. At TreeHugger they know that variety is the spice of life, so you can find all you need to go green in our up to the minute blog, weekly and daily newsletters, weekly video segments, weekly radio show and our user-generated blog, Hugg.

Planet Green
Created by the same savvy folk who brought you the award-winning TreeHugger, Planet Green is your user's guide to living mindfully on this big blue marble we all call home. Their experts will help you navigate the oftentimes confusing sea of options available to help you detox your home, life, and planet—without the jargon or the guilt trips—so you can start being the change you wish to see in the world.
Passionate, positive, yet always practical, Planet Green is bursting with smart tips, easy-to-understand advice, and inspiring anecdotes to help you tread more lightly on the only Earth we've got. And before you know it, you'll be rolling your Rs—reduce, reuse, and recycle—like a seasoned pro. Nos casa, su casa.


Monday night fire 3.10.2008 |

Mobile home fire at 2408 Pleasant Hill Church Road at 9:30 p.m. Monday

No further information available at this time.

Scary... 3.07.2008 |

From Family Guy...
Sort of PG or PG13, just as a warning.
But it made me laugh out loud.

All dressed up... |

Want to know the worst thing about Oklahoma! rehearsals? Those songs get stuck in your head for days. Seriously. I’ve had a weeklong loop of “People Will Say We’re In Love.” Not torture but my goodness, it just won’t go away.
But on to other business.
The dress rehearsals have started. And we all look like a Mid-Western rainbow of gingham and flowers.
But everybody all dolled up really does have a profound effect on the feel of rehearsal. The boys amble along like honest-to-goodness cowboys. The girls are mindful of their full skirts and dainty bonnets. Everyone sings a little bit louder and gusto abounds.

Not only have costumes been added – the orchestra pit is starting to fill up as well. (And not with the bodies of actors who have fallen off stage.) The student musicians have been practicing and it shows.
No longer are performers drowned out by pre-recorded music blaring out of monitors on stage. No, it’s far more genteel now. Conductor John Champney and those populating the pit have their work cut out for them during these recent rehearsals.
While so much progress has already been made, there are still plenty of kinks to iron out in the production. Who goes where, what to do when you say this or that, which piece of set needs to be hauled upstage.
Steve Padgett makes no apologies.
Wait, I take that back.
He does apologize to the pit.
It seems the orchestra often has to sit there, instruments in hand, waiting for their next cue while Padgett labors over blocking.
However, he doesn’t apologize for those of us standing around for what seems like vast stretches of time. Not that he has to. As I’ve been told, sore feet are just part of the process. And the drama veterans of Shelby High know it well. It’s the newbies like me who green enough not to see it coming.
It’s bittersweet to think that rehearsals a nearing their end – and becoming more stringent as a consequence. Once the performances start (the 14th, 15th, and 16th for those of you keeping score at home) that’s it.

Hope to see you there!
And be sure to checkout the Oklahoma! interactive feature on shelbystar.com.

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Hey Mama... 3.03.2008 |

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In brief... |

It’s been a busy week for everyone – I feel like I’ve barely been able to make over to Shelby High School at all this week. Most surprisingly, I miss it terribly if I can’t make to rehearsal. I can’t claim to shed a tear when my schedule doesn’t allow for some of my other obligations, but I’m sure that isn’t rare.

Rehearsals grow evermore involved and precise. We’re adding “tech” and polishing blocking. Main characters are donning microphones and costumes are being fitted. (I say we as if it is I running around building sets, tweaking mics, and slaving over a sewing machine.)
For me, all the preparation has been a dreadful reminder that soon – sooner than I realized – I’ll be on stage with all these guys in front of the entirety of Malcolm Brown Auditorium.
Certainly I am not too proud to admit that I have developed a nervous little knot in my stomach that is occasionally accompanied by a nice lump in my throat whenever I think about the performance.

But, with every rehearsal and every encouraging word from Steve Padgett, Kathie Burgin, Traci Aderholt and Mike Sisk and every kindness from the cast and crew – I get a little less nervous. At least until I start thinking about it all again!

Look for more video and pictures in the coming week on my blog and at shelbystar.com under the interactive feature section on the home page.


Use me! |

Reducing and recycling…I’ll admit, there some effort there. But reusing? That falls right in step with lazy environmentalism! Below are some tips for reusing that I have found pretty handy. If you have an item you aren’t sure how to reuse, the internet is full or resources. Try searching using the phrase “uses for ‘item’” and you’ll usually have success.

Bag it – Every week or so, you’re bound to come home with grocery bags. Now, most stores have a recycling station near the door where you can return used bags. But they are also the original multitaskers. They’re great for cheap lunch sacks, doggie-doo bags or a handy trash bag for your car.
There are plenty of commercially available doo-dads that can help store the bags but it our house, an empty Coca-Cola 12-pack can box serves the purpose. With a little stuffing, you can fit a lot of bags and the box can sit under the sink ready to dispense when you need it. (And hey, you’re reusing the Coke box!)

Crafty packages – If you have kids or your neighbors have kids or even if you were once a kid yourself, check with teachers and schools to see if any classes are currently collecting used items for crafts. Already this year, I’ve seen an igloo made of milk jugs. Egg cartons, baby food jars, paper towel tubes and oatmeal containers are some of the usual suspects when it comes to class crafts.

Bottled up – Re-using bottled water bottles may not be the best idea. Some media have falsely suggested that reusing the bottles could leech chemicals from the plastic into your drinking water. That’s not the case but, for me, there is an issue with the amount of bacteria that can build up. Your mouth is filthy. And reusing bottles that you can’t sanitize is kind of sketch. But your bottles can have second life.
The tops of bottles can make good disposable funnels and the bottom halves can make good temporary plant pots. If you have a bird feeder, you may have been unlucky enough to receive a shower of birdseed from one those huge bags as you reached to refill a feeder. Filling a two or three-liter soda bottle with the seed (using a newly fashioned funnel to prevent spills) can make storing and sharing the birdseed a lot easier.

Curtains! – An old shower curtain can have any number of uses after gets to be too this or that for it’s original purpose. It can be a light-duty tarp or line your car’s trunk next time you’re bringing home potting soil or the like. One of the coolest ideas I’ve come across is a use for the old cloth shower curtains.
Cut the curtain up into squares and sew them together like a pillow. Stuff them with used plastic grocery bags. They make great, one-season cushions for outdoor furniture.
Check back next week when we take a look at easy water conservation that doesn’t include cutting out any shower time!

*Poof* There's a set! |

Not much to report this week, really. Rehearsals have been few and far between this week. Between my schedule and the students’ schedules – there’s just been no time.

That isn’t to say students haven’t been funneling time into the production. Magically, a set has appeared where once there was merely timber and power tools and hope. A house was built and while it may not be able to withstand a stiff wind, it is certainly able to hold up the various students that have been weaving their way through the roofing beams during construction.
A windmill – that looks suspiciously like an oil derrick right now – graces the other side of the stage.

I tell you all this with a sort of carefree it-just-appeared sort of way. Certainly, nothing could be farther from the truth. While I am my desk or on assignment there are Shelby High drama students who are graded (at least in part) on what they build. There’s hauling material to and fro, painting (and perfecting the delicate art of moving large pieces of set while the paint is still tacky and wet), costuming…oh the costuming.

While the boys may be able borrow boots, dig out some old dungarees and tuck a mop of hair into a cowboy hat, the girls, I feel, have a harder time of it. The cache of dresses already made isn’t all that limiting but most must be altered in some shape or fashion in order to be “Oklahoma-esque” enough for the stage.

Some students are opting to make costumes. A small area, lovingly called the ‘sweatshop’, is home to piles of fabric, straight pins, ironing boards and sewing machines. The dresses to make, if you’ll recall my description from last week, require mounds of fabric and a lot of detailed sewing.

Yet, students who are in classes all day, rehearsals all afternoon and doing homework all night (and somehow managing a social life) have managed to pull together sets and costumes that would give professional theaters a run for their money.

Being part of this production has already given me an appreciation for the undertaking just being in the play can be…but lately, it’s also lead to a huge amount of respect for the people that make it happen.

Check out video of my costume (in all its glory) and rehearsal at shelbystar.com under the video section.

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