Tuesday, November 24, 2015


I kinda hate when people toot their own horn about kindness.  You know what I'm talking about, right?  Every once in a while there will be a viral Facebook post about how someone bought this for a homeless person, paid for a veteran's meal, gave a tank of gas to someone in need, you get the picture.  All of those things are awesome and I understand the giver wanting to tell their story: it feels good to give!  It feels great to be kind!  I get it.  But, at the same time, it feels a little like . . . I don't know.  Asking for head pats?  Wanting someone to give you props for being kind?  I say all that to preface what I'm about to tell you.  I'm not looking for props or head pats; I just want to share a "what goes around comes around: in a good way" story.

Last week, I was rear ended.  I was having a horrible, horrible morning.  And I very easily could have lashed out at the girl who hit me.  I remember several years ago, I was probably 13 or 14.  My friend's cousin was driving a group of us through the Taco Bell drive-through and accidentally hit the car in front of us.  It was, admittedly, a distracted teenage girl.  But it was also a total accident and she was very, very upset that it happened.  It was in a drive-through so there was minimal damage.  However, that did not stop the guy she hit from unleashing on her.  He let the f-bombs fly and had the poor girl - and all the rest of us! - in tears.  It was uncalled for and that's always stayed with me.

Fast forward to last Tuesday.  I was hit.  I pulled over on the side of the road to examine the damage and speak to the other driver.  Said other driver was a very young girl who was very upset.  She was in tears, calling her mom, apologizing immediately.  I've already said it but, really, I was having a HORRIBLE morning and I was in a complete bitch mode bad mood.  I very easily could have taken that bad morning out on her.  But.  All I could think was, "she could be me, she could be anybody."  It was a total accident and she didn't deserve my outrage or me berating her or anything like that.  I did take down her information, just in case, but I never filed a police report or anything with insurance (it was only a tiny scratch!) Instead, I gave the poor girl a hug and told her a very real nugget of truth: "we've all been here." 

In the moment, I didn't stop to think that I was being kind to her because I wanted karma to come around and hug me or anything like that.  All I could see was a young girl who needed a hug.  All I could think was that could've been me, couldn't been anybody.  And, therefore, I treated her the way I would have wanted to be treated . . . the way my friend's cousin should've been treated all those years ago.

I firmly believe "what goes around, comes around" and that goes for kindness too.  Let's fast forward to yesterday afternoon.

The kids and I were prepping to go to boyfriend's house.  I warned the boys that once we got there, they were going to be responsible for cleaning my car out.  J decided he wanted a jump start on the cleaning so, even though it was only ten or so minutes before time to leave, he ran out to get started.  In the process, he locked my keys in my car. 

Not going to lie: I was LIVID.  LIVID.  I will routinely give my boys my keys to get something out of the car (we live in there: you'll often find shoes or a jacket, a random Barbie, etc.) and always make sure to tell them to bring the keys back to me as soon as they hit the "unlock" button on the fob.

Here's the deal: I don't have my extra set of keys (my ex still has them which, note to self, time to ask for those back! and he wasn't answering his phone.  I'm not even sure he's in town.)  I also don't have OnStar or any of those nifty services.  I called boyfriend in a panic.  My neighbor came over to help me: we both consulted Google.  There really weren't a lot of options.  I called Pop-a-Lock but it was $19 just for someone to come out.  It very easily would've cost me around $100 for them to let me in my car.

Google told me, though, that with the VIN number my local dealership could cut me a valet key for around $20.  I immediately called and spoke with an absolute ANGEL named Kenny at Sunrise Buick in Wolfchase.

I explained my dilemma.  He confirmed they could print the key if they had the mold but then gave the kicker, "I'm going to need your drivers license and either your registration or insurance."

"My registration and insurance are in my glove compartment, locked in my car!"

"I'm sorry, ma'am.  Have you tried Pop-a-Lock?"

Instant tears.  Not even planned.  I told him I had called them but it was going to cost me around $100 and I just did not have the money, not at all, and especially not right here at Christmas.  He listened, very patiently, and asked for the last eight digits of my VIN number.

"I'm not supposed to do this . . . I'm really not . . . but if you can get here before 6:00, I can cut you a key."


I took pictures of my VIN number and also of the car, showing it obviously parked in a driveway, as some kind of proof it was mine -- or at least that it wasn't sitting in a random parking lot or anything like that.  When I showed up at the dealership to pick up the key, he shooed away the picture proof.  "I don't even need that, girl!" 

He cut me the key and charged me a whole . . . $21.97.  Sent me on my way with merely a "Merry Christmas" and "make sure to have yourself a drink!"

Kenny at Sunrise Buick: YOU ARE AN ANGEL.

I still can't get over the absolute kindness this man showed me.  He took me at my word that he car was mine, he heard the desperation in my voice.  I'm not going to lie, dropping $100 to get my keys would absolutely have impacted a portion of my Christmas.  $100 doesn't seem like a whole lot until it's yours and you NEED it.  I swear, y'all, Kenny is an ANGEL!  And I also swear that when you're kind to others, it will come back to you in some shape or form.  I tried to teach that lesson to my kids when we were driving home last night.  I explained what happened to me last week and went on to explain that, most of the time, the kindness isn't returned to you as fast as it was to me.  But it always comes back to you  It always does.  Being kind will ALWAYS benefit you.  It will, selfishly, make you feel good about yourself.  And, sometimes, it'll manifest in others being even MORE kind to you.

I can't end this post without a shout-out to the best boyfriend ever.  I had to call Mark to come and drive me to the dealership.  He didn't even hesitate, even though it meant he was going to miss his class at the gym.  He keeps a bottle of vodka at his place and instructed me to start pouring myself shots as soon as I made it over there.  After I picked up the key and was feeling somewhat better, I told Jaidan he owed me the $21 and went on to say, "I was going to use that to go toward a case of beer and some cheap champagne for Thanksgiving!"  Mark went on to the gym and, when he came home a little while later, he was carrying . . . two cases of beer and a couple bottles of champs.  "I wasn't sure which cheap champagne you wanted."  I mean . . come on . . . he's the best!  But Kenny is still my angel!

I'll end with words of wisdom for the great philosophers, Bill and Ted . . . "Be excellent to each other . . . Party on Dudes!" 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Too Cold . . . Too Cold . . .

I love this time of year. The exception, of course, is that it's freaking cold (lows in the 30's over the weekend!) But it's all the good things about life: food and family and football and ice cold beer and wait, what?

Friday, Karis had a "harvest fest" at school and came home looking all cute:

She also made me a pasta necklace. My kids don't do the customary Thanksgiving lunch where they dress up as pilgrims or native Americans and we all go eat cafeteria turkey and dressing. So I'll just soak up these little things they DO do when I can. 

Friday night was our first kid-free night since Chicago. Mark's friend Anthony was in town so we went to Southaven to hang out with him. Only problem is he'd flown in from India and was major, major jet lagged. Not much hanging out with him!

Same amount of beer, okay?

This was literally two minutes later!

Jason and Kendra were downtown Memphis (not THAT far from the Miss state line where we were) celebrating their anniversary so they decided to join us at the Thirsty Lizard after their dinner. 

There was karaoke and there's a good chance that I told the DJ that Jason (Florida fan) wanted to sing "Rocky Top" (Tennessee song.)

The boys did sing "Walk the Line."

We had big plans of leaving the bar for an "after party" but ... in the end, we're old and if was close to midnight. Bed.

Saturday was had huge plans. Huge. We were going to wake up, get ready, and head to Oxford, Mississippi, to watch LSU lose. Unfortunately, our free tickets fell through. The game would've been fun but, man, it was so SO cold. So I guess it wasn't that disappointing?? We were able to do a kid-free Sam's run and picked up a cargo carrier for our Thanksgiving trip coming up. 

That evening, we had Jason and Avery over (Kendra was studying) for chili dogs and some Razorback football. 

I was not overly optimistic about the game. I mean ... five wins in a row? Four straight SEC wins? It ended up being a shoot out but, in the end, my Hogs lost by a point. It was disappointing but Ohio State also lost so my weekend was pretty much made. 

Sunday, we got out and knocked out some chores. My kids and I spend so much time at Mark's that I really do not mind at all helping out with keeping his house picked up. I was running the vacuum yesterday morning, thinking of how content I was, when it dawned on me that it's because it was all equal. I was vacuuming while he was power washing the cargo carrier. Earlier, we both folded clothes. Etc, etc. Chores just aren't a huge deal when you're 50/50.

And, hey, way to make a weekend post SUPER boring by talking about chores!

Big deal of the day: the Bears played the Broncos!

These two were talking smack to ach other the whole time. It was a good game. No Peyton, Jay Cutler was Jay Cutler. In the end, Kyan was yelling "victory is mine!"

We ended the day by frying some eggplant (Mark) and making fancy pigs in a blanket (me) with these crazy kids:

And now we're prepping for a short week, a trip out of town, family time, lots of good football, and TONS of food.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thankful Friday

1) I'm thankful to be in a relationship where I always feel adored, treasured, and loved.  And I'm also thankful that I'm at a point in my life where I can realize that I DESERVE to feel that way.  Everyone deserves that kind of love.  (Okay, almost everyone.  I can think of a few assholes who . . . oh, never mind!  Kidding.  Mostly.)  I'm so thankful to have this amazing man in my life and that I get to love him and have him love me back!

2) I'm so, so, so extremely thankful for Jaidan's teacher this year.  My boy has consistently hit the teacher jackpot year after year so it means a lot - a whole lot - when I can say that this is the best one he's had yet.  She is very proactive when it comes to noticing certain behaviors (and things that are probably common for most tweenagers but that we still don't want our children espousing) and nipping them in the bud.  She's also the most communicative teacher any of my children have ever had.  We LOVE her!

3) Speaking of that little turd . . . I'm thankful for him too!  This age is very trying for us and there are times when I want to sell him to the gypsies.  But I could not be more thankful for him and for the fact that he is mine!  He was always the smiliest, happiest baby and he still knows how to bring a smile to the face of anyone around him.  I'm also thankful for the things he does that remind me that he's still actually a little boy (even though he would kill me for saying that!)

4) I'm thankful to live in this country.  Yeah, we have A LOT of problems.  And I'll pull a my-dad-circa-1992 and threaten to move to another country if Donald Trump is actually elected president.  BUT.  We Americans are so, so, so blessed when compared to so many other countries around the world.  I don't have to live in a constant state of fear.  I'm not faced with the decision of staying in my home and possibly/ probably having my family murdered or setting out in a tiny raft and possibly dying at sea.  My children have plenty of food, access to free education, and they can play outside without fear of a roadside bomb exploding.  We are SO fortunate.

5) I'm thankful when articles pop up on my Facebook that take me back and remind me of my childhood.  And I'll always be thankful for Linda Bloodworth-Thompson for creating Julia, Suzanne, Mary Jo, and Charlene!

6) Since we're on the frivolous, I'm incredibly thankful that my Razorbacks are finally PLAYING SOME DAMN BALL! 

7) Finally, I'm thankful for the amazing friends - near and far - I have in my life.  I'm incredibly blessed in this area. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thursday Things

1) The other morning, I was listening to a video someone posted on Facebook.  It was a Chikfila employee serenading the restaurant with "God Bless the USA" on Veteran's Day.  Kyan was watching it with me and said, "I know that song!  They played it at school on Tuesday and it made Hayden cry tears of joy then that made me and Ben cry tears of joy too.  I really love that song."  What a sweetheart.

2) Speaking of said sweetheart . . . HE LEFT HIS SISTER AT SCHOOL ON FRIDAY!  We had a slight change in routine and, well, yeah . . . he walked right past the kindergarteners and didn't get his sister.  That boy!

3) ONE WEEK UNTIL THANKSGIVING AND I CANNOT WAIT!  I love the food.  The family time.  The football.  All of it.


4) I've been craving a good pot of chili for a while now but, frankly, it just really hasn't been quite cold enough to get the full-on chili experience.  Ya know?  Well, the weekend was colder than any we've had thus far so we decided it was finally time for chili.  Boyfriend made two huge pots of it.  A friend gave us deer meat so the chili was half deer, half beef.  And it was AMAZING.  We had chili pies and chili dogs Saturday night.  Sunday morning we were trying to decide what to have for breakfast.  "What can we make that's breakfast-y with chili?" he asked me.  "Hashbrowns smothered in chili?  Waffle House style?"  That's exactly what we had and once again -- delish!

5) Favorite memes from my HOG'S WIN last weekend:


6) I have to admit, I'm very irritated in the Blake Shelton/ Gwen Stefani pairing.  For starters, I'm pretty sure it's all for publicity reasons.  But, beyond that, they just don't . . . match.  They were much better suited for their respective (now former) spouses.

7) The fall colors have EXPLODED in Memphis over the past few days.  I'm assuming it's because of the buckets of rain dumped on us but I am loving it.  We'll be in Arkansas next week and I'm hoping for good weather and beautiful colors so maybe we can explore at Pinnacle or Petit Jean or even Mt. Nebo.

8) Love, love, LOVE this:

9) I can't believe Home Alone is 25-years-old!  Home Alone and Home Alone 2 are some of my very favorite movies, on the short list of ones we absolutely MUST watch every year.  Twenty five years!

10) Truth. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Blessings from the Hard Times

I had a really bad day yesterday.

The morning began super early and I was irritated in no time because someone else's disregard for MY time meant I actually could've slept an hour and half longer than I did.  Then it was just one of those mornings.  One of the boys was constantly messing with his brother and sister.  The two younger ones couldn't get their butts in gear and get ready.  Karis decided she wanted her hair straightened . . . five minutes before it was time to walk out the door.  I was running late.  Let me give an idea of just how irritable I was: I was actually MAD it was in the 70's (in the morning in November!) because I thought a white chocolate mocha would make everything better and who wants to drink a white chocolate mocha when it's 72 degrees outside?  Yeah, I was basically Cruela DeVil. 

Then I was rear-ended.

Everyone had had to stomp on their brakes, I barely missed hitting the car in front of me, and then I heard the clank of metal and felt my car shake a little.  I wanted to scream.  Cry.  Pound on my steering wheel.  Curse.  Whatever.  I could just imagine a huge dent in the back of my car, my liftgate broken, something of that nature.

I pulled over and got out to examine the damage and . . . a scratch.  And not a very big one at that.  The girl who hit me couldn't have been more than 18 or 19 years old.  She was in tears, calling her mom, apologizing constantly.  "This is my first ever wreck!"  I gave her a hug.

We exchanged information and I got back in the car, my hands still shaking and my heart still racing, and - believe it or not - I was over my bad morning.  How does that work?  How does a fender bender make your bad morning BETTER? 

I'll tell you how.

Last Saturday morning, I drove up on a wreck minutes after it happened.  Glass was everywhere, both cars were smashed.  No one was hurt but it was obvious both cars were totaled.  Monday night I happened to see a car that ran off the road into a deep ditch.  The car was literally sitting on the front bumper.  I have no idea if the person who was driving was hurt or not but I'm not sure how they wouldn't have been.

My point is: I got back in my car yesterday morning and immediately wanted to cry at just how grateful I felt.  The weather has been bad and people in Memphis can't drive.  It had been raining, the little fender bender could've (and probably would've) been much worse. 

My car could have been totaled.
I could have been hurt.

Any number of things could have happened.  But, in the end, it was just a scratch.  And a terrified teenage girl who needed a hug.  And a 30-something who got a little jolt of reality and said buh-bye to Cruela DeVil for the day.  (But that doesn't mean I wasn't all Son of a Bitch! by the end of the day!)

P.S. Yesterday evening, I texted my mom and told her the only people having a worse day than me slept with Charlie Sheen in the past four years.  I'd had some other stuff come up and I was JUST SO TOTALLY OVER MY TUESDAY.  But you know what?  First world problems.  I'm here and I'm healthy.  My people are healthy.  We have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies (chicken wrapped in bacon with roasted sweet potatoes because Mama needed comfort food last night!), and a car that's not totaled.  The blessings in the hard times!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Come on Home to Me, Charlene . . .

I love country music.  It's what I listen to 95% of the time (until next week when it's all Christmas, all the time!) but I also have an appreciation for other types of music.  The other day I heard a reference to Charlie Wilson and it automatically reminded me of this song.  I HAD to YouTube it right away and ended up falling down the rabbit hole of late 90's/ 2000's era R&B music. 

This one remains one of my favorite songs EVER.  It was my first introduction to Anthony Hamilton.  That boy can SING and I love that none of his music is offensive or derogatory.  (Well, none that I've heard anyway.  Don't tell me if he sings nasty songs!)

"I'll still love you when your hair turns gray
And I'll still want you if you gain a little weight
The way I feel for you will always be the same
Just as long as your love don't change

The words to this one are AMAZING.  Every woman - every person - should know that kind of love and have someone who feels that way about them.

Yeah, so I know I spoke earlier about Anthony Hamilton not being derogatory and this guy here brought us "In Those Jeans" and "Pony" (and, no lie, I LOVE Pony!) but I get all Tom Havorford when it comes to Ginuwine.  "Differences" is his best.  "So Anxious" is a close second.

Picking a favorite Alicia Keys song is like picking a favorite child: it's impossible.  This chick can SING and I LOVE her piano play on this song.

Full disclosure: there was a time when this was the ring tone on my phone.  Ya know, back in the day when we all had songs-as-ring-tones on our Motorola Razr phones.

These are the types of songs that make you wanna . . . make babies.

And you can't do a post on R&B without the amazing Mr. Keith Sweat.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Low Key

This picture pretty accurately describes our weekend:

It was a long week and we were tired.  Like, in bed before 9:00 on Friday night tired.  But not before we had dinner at La Hacienda with Gladys, our favorite waitress!
I got my kids Saturday morning and did a little house cleaning.  While I was in the shower, I put my phone on the bathroom counter.  I got out of the shower and . . . no phone.  "WHERE IS MY PHONE?!?"  Yeah.  I bought a selfie stick (I KNOW) and J is obsessed with it.  He came and got my phone while I was in the shower and recorded videos and took pictures like this:

It's a good thing he's getting his very own selfie stick for Christmas!
The kids' school does a food drive every year the week before Thanksgiving.  I try to start in late October/ early November buying extras here and there for the drive.  This year, though, the boys decided they wanted to use some of their own money to purchase a little more.  We went to Kroger and they picked out boxes of stuffing and mashed potatoes, canned goods, and dessert mixes.  I was super proud of them! 
Mid-afternoon on Saturday, we headed to Boyfriend's house and he promptly put J to work . . .

While I put the other two boys to mixing up some brownies!

Saturday night was one of my VERY FAVORITE NIGHTS OF THE WHOLE ENITRE YEAR.  It was time for the Battle for the Boot . . . the Arkansas/ LSU game.  Here's the thing about this game: Arkansas can be having a great season and LSU can suck . . . LSU will sneak in and win that game.  LSU can be having a great season and Arkansas can suck . . . Arkansas will sneak in and win that game.

This year?

Arkansas would like to erase the whole month of September because it's now November and we snuck in and SPANKED some Tigers!

Hey . . . Look who is sleeping . . . AGAIN!

(Total Side note: I swear my dad looks a lot like Jeff Fisher.  We were talking about this yesterday during the Bears/ Rams game and Kyan said, "It's because if the forehead wrinkles, right?"  Those forehead wrinkles are hereditary, y'all!

We also had to rep our other other team:

For the record: Both our other teams (Memphis and Baylor) LOST. Wahhhhhh-BURGER!





I love my Razorbacks!

Sunday morning it was time for some NFL football. I've always been a college football girl.  It's kinda par for the course when you grow up in a place like Arkansas.  We have no pro team so we HAVE to be all about our college team.  However.  I'm now dating a big NFL fan and it's starting to rub off on me.  I can get *almost* as excited for Sunday as I can for Saturday.

And my boys?

They live for Sundays.

Kyan still claims the Broncos as his team but Mark and his son are s-l-o-w-l-y rubbing off on him: he's developing an appreciation for the Bears.  And good thing because . . .
The Bears were on feeee-ire enough to have some guys doing A LOT of push-up's!  By the end of the game they were all pretty much, "eh, he doesn't HAVE to score now."

Meanwhile . . . some sad fans were sad . . .

I was actually REALLY hoping for the Cowboys to beat the Bucs. My Christmas present from Mark is a trip to Tampa; his present from me is tickets to the Bucs/ Bears game.  I need the Bucs to SUCK as much as humanly possible in order for the tickets to be super cheap so I can get him good seats!

The Dallas folk weren't the only sad fans . . .

This convo went on at my house last night:

K: "The Giants lost by ONE to the Pats!"
Me: "I know!  You need to talk to the Manning brothers!"
K: "Yeah!  And their dad!  . . . Sean Payton!"

Bless his hear.  And, with that, . . . Happy Monday! 
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