Anais Nin Quote

"Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live." Anais Nin

"A life undocumented is a life unlived."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


We all come with labels. People are authors, accountants, book nerds, adrenaline junkies, Moms, Dads, sisters. For a long time, my labels were simple: I was a wife and a mother. Those days are so long gone now that they are turning into fuzzy memories. I've been re-labeled over the past few years and now I can say that I am still:

1. a Mom. He's in the Army Reserve and has gone through so much and has come out on the other side a wonderful human.

2. a writer. I still plug away at it when I can. I'm not a best-selling author, but I still love creating a world on paper.

3. a bookworm. All I can hope for is that there's a huge library in heaven.

4. a yarn nerd. That's an itch that will always be scratched with the help of acrylic.

I can say that I am not:

1. a student. Those days are thankfully behind me although I loved most of it.

2. living like a student. Although, I'm still not too far from it right now.

3. a wife. I'm still not sure what that means. I guess the joy of life is figuring that out as I go along.

4. without a home. I have a great little place and I can spread out and I have bookcases and yarn and cool wooden floors.

I can say that I am now:

1. a teacher. That has given me more thrills than I can count. Even though I hate what public education has turned into and how it's viewed, I love my job. I love my school. I love my students. I love the feeling of going into the new week with a fresh start. I love the fact that I can smile most days and make most people smile with me.

2. a college graduate. The first one in my immediate family. That gives me a lot of pride and the plus side is that it'll never be taken away.

3. a girlfriend. That's such a weird name for a 43-year-old. But whatever. I love him and he loves me and it's just a label. I'm more concerned with what it represents. :)

4. an Episcopalian. That's just so amusing to me. But I like that label. It fits everything that I am.

5.  a human. That sounds like it really should go without saying, but don't you some days NOT feel human? Like you are just floating through life and are disconnected from things? It's nice to be grounded and it doesn't take much to get that way.

All that to say I'm thankful. This past year has brought about quite a few changes for me - some good, some bad, but turned out good, some I want to always remember, some I want to forget. Such is life. And it's a pretty good one right now.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall Break

When I was at U of Memphis, we had a fall break. It usually consisted of two school days and a weekend. We always felt a bit robbed by that. Number one, fall break is supposed to be for the whole week and number two, it's not fair to count the weekends because those are freebie days anyway. Nevermind that growing up, I never had a fall break in school.

Fast forward to this year. I'm currently enjoying a lazy, rainy Friday, the official end to my lovely long week of fall break. Now I know why we have fall break. The teachers need it as much as the students need it. Having a fall break has allowed me to slow down, regroup, and recharge. I was able to do a bit of cooking:

And I was able to do a bit of planning: 

I also was able to do some crocheting. I got one little special project done and I'm trying to finish up a long-overdue project. I didn't realize how little crocheting I've done since school has started. I still haven't been able to do as much reading as I wanted to, but that's okay because I was also able to just be. That's been the most important part of my fall break.

I still have two more days (Saturday and Sunday) until the craziness of the second nine weeks begins, but you know those don't really count. Those are freebie days.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Fall Weekend!

Something about fall energizes me. Summer has finally given up the ghost, taking the 90-degree temperatures and humidity-you-can-slice-through with it. Ferns and summer flowers on front porches are swapped out for pumpkins, mums, and Halloween skeletons. The a/c is turned off. Everything is pumpkin-spiced and apple-cidered. Football season is in full force. And the weekends turn into a flurry of outdoor activities.

If I could define this past weekend in one word, it would be football. Friday night was the Houston vs Collierville game. I was torn on this one. My boyfriend's daughter is in the marching band for Houston and Collierville is my old school. In the end, Houston overpowered them:

And the fans charged the field, college football-style:

On Saturday, we followed the Memphis Tiger caravan down to Oxford for the Tigers/Ole Miss game. This was my first experience tail-gating Ole Miss-style. I discovered money is apparently no object when it comes to parking:

I also discovered Ole Miss tailgating is the same as being in a club pack to capacity. We muscled our way through the sea of Ole Miss red and found our first stop. The booth was already full of people, but we were able to make it inside and found our host and visited for a while. By the time we were able to find drinks and food, the booth had so many folks in it, I couldn't even turn around so we said our goodbyes and found my sister's booth on the other side which was a bit less like a club and more like a family affair. I can say this about Ole Miss, they know how to throw a party.

Inside the stadium, Ole Miss students and fans were everywhere. We were a bit outnumbered, but we had our cheering section and you know, Memphis fans:

And Fedex did a fly-by for us. We're claiming them as Memphis Tigers fans. You can't have them, Ole Miss.

Alas, in the end, we lost. We made mistakes, some small, some embarrassingly large, but I felt we did pretty good against a team that is SEC level (I still think the refs were closet Rebel fans). And we made an awesome play with that fake punt (that'll be something talked about for year). 

We followed the Tigers home. 

The Memphis police officers were honored this morning in during the service at Saint John's Episcopal and we had red beans and rice for lunch in the PLC. I was too busy eating and yakking to get any pictures, but it was a good turnout. 

We had the Blessing of the Animals this afternoon at Saint John's. 
Kristoff and Bryan

Where one is good, three is even better!

Kristoff, trying to pretend he's not with us. 

Ever tried to get a dog to pose?


Sniffing other dogs to see if they are friend-worthy.

Mama's boy

I think he was a squirrel in a former life.

I bet THIS ref would've favored the Memphis Tigers last night. 

Viciousness personified

Because what's a blessin' without a chicken?

And the blessing begins...

I think Kristoff has decided he likes Father Jay. Kristoff has good taste. :)
This is the last week before fall break in the Shelby County School system. I'm taking some time to prep for the week, but I've been getting better at balancing school life and home life. I've enjoyed teaching and the students even though the work is very hard and there have been days when I'm frustrated with all of it, but I'm starting to take time out for myself in the evenings to recharge, making sure I get the important things done at school and leaving the evenings for light work at the most. The pace is still the equivalent of being on the Autobahn and I feel like I'm a 50-year-old Fiat getting burned by a Bugatti and my writing has suffered for it. I'm stuck in the mode of having five minutes to do anything in any given moment during the school day and that has had an effect on how I deal with things at home because it's hard to slow my mind down from that mad rush, but I'm learning to adjust and to make time in the evenings for fun things. My goal is to blog more, write more, read more, and crochet more. Those are my recharge activities and I need them. Plus, I want to be able to enjoy fall and the holidays. Life is too short to not enjoy each day as it comes.

Happy Fall!!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Meghan Trainor's "No"

I really do love Meghan Trainor's music. I think she has a spunky way about her and her music reflects that same spunk. However, when I first heard her latest song, "No", I kept seeing an image pop up. Like most things, I cannot help what pops in my head and while I can control what comes out of my mouth most of the time, I couldn't resist sharing this one. I give you my graphic interpretation of "No":

My name is 

My sign is

My number is 

You're welcome. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Guns N' Roses Nashville 2016

For those of us who are Generation X, Guns N' Roses calls up memories of a skinny Axl Rose slithering across the stage like a cobra, mesmerizing his prey with Slash creating magic with his guitar - complete with top hat, curly hair all in his face, and a cigarette popping out of what could only be his mouth. They were awesome. So it was a bit heart-breaking when they started having problems. Fast forward to 2016. They are BACK. Of course we were going. Road trip!

This was our first little trip together so we made a few stops during our Guns N' Roses weekend. 

Day One

Our first stop was at Merridee's in Franklin, TN. Franklin downtown is sort of like Anytown, USA. It's cute, it's quaint, and it's got tons of little shops. Some shops are new, some have been there for years. Merridee's is tucked away on Fourth Ave and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We had lunch and it was fabulous! I highly recommend the curry chicken salad sandwich. 

Next stop was dessert! We wanted to try another local place so we stopped at Kilwin's. This little shop is another Franklin original. They've been around since the late 40s. I wish I had taken a photo of the shop itself, but you can click the link and take a look around. I can honestly say that is the best ice cream I've ever put in my mouth. We chatted with one of the workers while we ate for a few minutes and she let us try some of the salted caramel fudge. *drool* 

We made it to our hotel and got settled in. We had overheard one of the staff talking to a guest about good sit-down places to eat and he mentioned Darfons so we thought we would try it for dinner. Darfons is a neat little place - good food, great service, and a weird cross between up-scale and casual. If you want awesome food, but have rolled into town and don't have time to change, this is the place. They have a great wine list and their steaks make my mouth water now just thinking about them. 

Day Two

We had a whole day to have some fun before the concert. We rummaged through the stack of brochures at the hotel and came across Belle Meade. We love old houses and history so we decided to check it out. We missed the first guided tour so we signed up for the next one which was $20 for a basic tour of the house. While we waited, we walked the rest of the grounds and viewed the smokehouse, the last of the slave quarters, the gardener's house, the mausoleum (the family had been moved and re-interred elsewhere), and a neat little nook where we could rest at a table underneath a magnolia tree and stay until the tour started. We had to take a picture of the front of the mansion. After a few takes ("Why can't I see the mansion?" "Your finger is in the way." Oops.), we got a good photo:

Our tour guide was dressed in period clothing and was an encyclopedia on Belle Meade Plantation history. She pointed out the columns where the home had been fired upon during the Battle of Nashville in the Civil War. We could see the marks. Then, we wandered through the rooms, studying the portraits and other items placed around the house. The tour lasted about 45 minutes and at the end of it, we got to experience a free wine tasting. Out of four wines, we picked two as our favorites:

We had to have these in our lives so we bought a bottle of each. 

For dinner, we tried another place that isn't native to Nashville, but still pretty cool - Rainforest Cafe. We had about an hour wait, but it was in the Opry Mills Mall so we just wandered around until we were called. Y'all remember Showbiz Pizza Place? That's what Rainforest Cafe reminds me of. When were seated, we were surrounded by automated gorillas, tigers, and a very curious elephant whose trunk kept swinging a little too close to my food plate (y'all really need to feed these animals more often). They have a gift shop, too. I have a cute little coffee cup to add to my collection: 

Then it was time for the concert! The venue was Nissan Stadium and around 55,000 people were expected to attend. Parking was at a premium and the cheapest we found was $20 for a little place tucked away close to other businesses. We got our t-shirts -

- and we were ready to go. 

One of the most amusing things we saw were the guys sitting in front of us. This drunk fan was so happy to see Guns N' Roses that he had to fistbump everyone around him, repeatedly. The concert started and it was just like the old days with the exception of the guys being a little older and Slash nixing the cigarette. I felt like I should've been apologizing to them for the humidity. Those poor guys were dripping within minutes, but they played for over 2-1/2 hours. And guess who paid us a little visit? Steven Adler! He came on and played through a couple of the songs.

Day Three

Needless to say, we didn't wake up early the next morning, but on our way home, we had to make one more stop: The Pharmacy. This little hipster place has AWESOME food. They're known for their phosphate sodas (we got chocolate and maraschino cherry). AND we managed to somewhat beat the crowd. We only had about a ten minute wait.

So the Nashville trip was a success. We came back home with our Guns N' Roses fix, a few souvenirs, and enough food in us to last a few days. Thanks, Nashville! Until the next rockin' concert!

Thursday, July 07, 2016

New Chapter!

As most of my friends already know, I enjoy new chapters in my life. This next chapter is a two-fer for me - new job and new place. I'm now a 10th grade English teacher in the Memphis school system and I've moving back into a Memphis zip code. I couldn't be more thrilled.

I don't like packing or moving, but I sure do like unpacking and setting up. It's like Christmas all over again, finding cherished items and putting them in their new little place.

My hope is to be done today so I can start getting plans together for my classroom this fall. I'm so excited!

I get to think of ways to decorate and projects I can introduce to help my students learn. I know I'll probably change my tune come November when I'm about ready to face plant my desk:

But for now, I'm enjoying the fact that I'm finally a teacher with my own classroom. 

The condo is fabulous. It's two bedrooms, two baths and it has hardwood floors! Granted, they're actually laminate, but still. I have tons of storage space and the best part? I have a washer and dryer INSIDE. I've spent the last six years on a college campus lugging my laundry basket to the campus laundromat. Here, I just walk two feet. No muss, no fuss. The neighbors are awesome - very friendly and helpful. The courtyard outside my condo is beautiful. They cut the grass regularly and the landscaping is so pretty. 

I love being so close to everything again. Restaurants, grocery stores, shops are all within a few minutes' drive so my little Beetle is going to love the short hops. 

I'm sure I'll be sharing more adventures now that I'm settled into my own little place again and have the time to write. 

Happy Thursday! 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Memphis Sea of Blue

Yesterday, Memphis paid tribute to fallen Officer Verdell Smith. Bryan and I got a chance to see the Sea of Blue drive from Hope Pres to the downtown precinct last night. We were driving eastbound on Poplar Ave when we saw a firetruck and a few cars pulled over. We circled around and parked. Bryan backed the car in while I talked briefly with a fireman. We agreed that while it was sad to have to have a Sea of Blue, it was very touching to see so many Memphians support the police officers. We waited silently as the sun peacefully set over the Memphis horizon. The folks who had pulled over were watching, their patience giving a hint at what were about to witness. Southbound traffic on I-240 had almost stopped minus a few stragglers while northbound traffic had started slowing down. We could see everyone who had begun to stop on the westbound side on Poplar Ave on the bridge:

Then, in the distance, we saw the beginnings of the procession. A true sea of blue was heading our way. As they got closer, we began to see details – Memphis police officers, West Memphis officers, Southaven officers, Germantown officers, and an endless line of police officers from places we couldn’t identify. All had their lights on and their sirens chirping. They were using their loud speakers to thank those of us standing silently in tribute to Officer Smith and in support for those still living who risk their lives daily so we might stay safe. One asked for prayer. The firefighters were now standing at attention on top of their trucks, saluting the procession. 

We watched as vehicle after vehicle drove under the bridge. By this time, traffic on Poplar was almost at a standstill. I could see people who had pulled into businesses bordering I-240 in order to be able to watch the officers drive by. Thirty minutes went by before the last of the vehicles straggled past. The solemnness we experienced went beyond the tribute paid to Officer Smith. It extended into the realization of what our Memphis officers do for us day in and day out on our streets and the price they pay for it. 

We complain a lot as a society and we have the right to do that. We complain when we get pulled over for speeding, or when we hear about the corruption that seems to have permeated the Memphis police department. We should always keep in mind, though, that while misconduct exists in our legal system, honor also exists in that same system. We have officers who take their vows seriously and will do whatever it takes to ensure we are protected in a city that doesn’t have a reputation for always being safe.

I uploaded a video I took of the procession. Please pardon my video-taking skills. I had been holding my phone up to video everything, but I wasn’t looking through the lens so occasionally it kind of meanders off depending on what was going on at the time. I did pan over at some point to catch the sight of the firefighters saluting the officers. I thought I had gotten the entire motorcade, but after we got back into the car, we saw a few more. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Love is...

This was sent to me this morning and if it doesn't make you crack a smile, then you need a hug:

From “Dear Annie” today – a series of quotes from children about what love means to them….

-Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne, and they go out and smell each other.

-When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore.  So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too.  That’s love.

-When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.  You know that your name is safe in their mouth.

-Love is when you go out to eat and you give somebody all of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.

-Love is when someone hurts you.  And you get so mad but you don’t yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings.

-Love is when Mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him to make sure it tastes OK.

-Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening the presents and listen.

-Love is when you tell someone something bad about yourself and you’re scared they won’t love you anymore.  Bt then you get surprised because they not only still love you, they love you even more.

-Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.

-My mommy loves me more than anybody.  You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep every night.

-Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.

-Love is when mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty, and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.

-Love is when a puppy licks your face, even after you left him alone all day.

-You shouldn’t say I love you unless you mean it.  But if you mean it, you should say it a lot.  People forget.

-Love is what makes you smile even when you are tired.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Meeting the Family

Unique sets of challenges exist for those of us who are divorced and re-enter the dating scene. Many involve our kids, but I faced one this past weekend: meeting the parents. 

Immediately, I was thrown back in time to my 19-year-old self. Would they like me? Am I dressed too casually for dinner? Is my lipstick smeared? Will being a redhead work for me or against me? Should I have that second glass of wine or will I look too much like an alcoholic? And what in God’s name will happen if I DO drink that second glass of wine? Which fork goes with the salad again? 

The setting was a casual family dinner at his mother’s house. I was to meet his mother, his step-father, his brother (Marine *gasp*), and his sister-in-law (Army *double-gasp*). I briefly debated on whether or not I should update my will and check on my life insurance policy.
Everyone was there when we arrived and I was offered a glass of wine which I gratefully accepted, mentally reminding myself that it was inappropriate to slug it back like a tequila shot.
The conversation was pretty tame at first – we talked about where I worked, what was going on with them, etc. Then the brother dropped the first bomb:
So what are your political views?
Suddenly, I couldn’t remember a single political/social issue over the last one hundred years if you had tied me up and tried to torture it out of me. My face resembled this, I think:

They’re Republican. I’m a weird hybrid of Democrat/Republican. I have somewhat liberal views on a few issues and somewhat conservative views on others. But suddenly, I was placed in a position where I had to pick: Am I A) Democrat or am I B) Republican? Can I pick C? There is a “C” choice, right? What issue could I possibly talk about that wouldn't A) stun everyone into awkward silence or B) involve me getting unceremoniously kicked out the front door? I stumbled over a few things and finally came up with the Planned Parenthood issue. Suffice it to say, that turned out to be a pretty safe subject and the brother decided I was Libertarian. I was good with that. And to be honest, if I have to be forced into a political box, Libertarian is as good of a box as any for who I am.
That bullet dodged, we sat down for dinner and I was faced with another dilemma – the food. I had been asked prior to the dinner whether or not I liked lamb. I figured, “Does a bear poop in the woods?” would probably not be an appropriate answer to be forwarded to them so I settled for something along the lines of, “why yes, I do!” Fast-forward to sitting down for dinner. I saw two forks. Holy cow. Which one do I use? I dug around in the cobwebs of my brain and remembered someone telling me once that you used the silverware in the order that the food was served so that’s what I went with. 

Then there was the issue of condiments. Mint sauce. What the hell do I eat that with? It looked like green Jell-O. Can I have some Cool Whip with that? I passed. 

After that, dinner was pretty uneventful until the next bomb was dropped. This time, it was by the step-father: So what are your experiences with guns? I almost choked. Guns? Well, I can shoot a pretty mean Nerf gun.
Oh wait. You mean, GUNS. Let’s see – my son showed me how to shoot the gun he used for trap shooting, my ex father-in-law showed me how to shoot his pellet rifle. 

Kiddo showing me how to shoot

Then he asked, what about pistols? WTF? Is there going to be a dual? Am I going to have to fight for my boyfriend? Why, no, I’ve never shot a pistol. I couldn’t identify any brand names of pistols. I think I flunked that test.
Then I hit the jackpot. The mother reads. Like READS. Suddenly, it didn’t matter that I had different political beliefs and couldn’t shoot a pistol to save my life. I could talk about Clive Cussler and the Highlander series. 

Suddenly, we were all like:

I was saved.

Keep in mind that this is a tongue-in-cheek recount of my evening. The family members I met were wonderful and very laid back and I really enjoyed meeting and visiting with them and look forward to many more pleasant visits. This story is my stream of consciousness, the goofy thoughts that popped in my head as the night progressed and my silly reflections afterwards. If you're a said family member, I promise I bathe daily, I brush my teeth, I can hold a job, I don't eat small children, and I vote. I also have little control over where my mind goes as you can see from this blog post. My goofiness has no bounds. My sense of humor is weird, off-beat, and I definitely march to my own little beat in life. Be warned.

Free Stuff for Shelby County Schools Teachers

As a newly graduated teacher, our main question was, Where's the free stuff?? Because honestly, what grad student can afford to buy the ...