The Good, The Bad & The Oh My Word We Play LSU Next

Well, Sister and I went to the Mississippi State / Auburn game this past Saturday.

Yes. Yes, we did.

And listen. The first six-ish hours of our day were a giant happy rainbow. We left my house around 6, drove straight to Starbucks, fueled up for the trip with some big ole cups of Pike Place, then hit the road. We started driving east just as the sun was starting to peek over the trees, and it made for an absolutely beautiful drive. About two hours later we pulled into The Loveliest Village on the Plains, and since I’d reserved our parking space earlier in the week at one of AU’s covered parking decks (EVERY school should have these; I am such a fan), we parked without any problem at all.

The stadium was only about three blocks away, so after a short walk from the parking garage, we crossed the street and saw the site of Saturday morning’s SEC battle.

Would you be embarrassed for me if I told you that I was really, really nervous?

Because I was really, really nervous.

But I guess that is totally understandable since I play such a vital role in the Bulldogs’ game plan. I mean, I don’t mean to brag, but this arm of mine? IT IS AN OFFENSIVE WEAPON. I can throw the football upwards of five to eight and one half feet AT ONE TIME. So clearly the ‘Dogs like to use me in 3rd-and-short situations, not to mention during all those plays where they benefit from the distraction of having a player who squeals a lot and kicks up her back leg real purty-like when she releases the ball.

Oh, I kid.

Because y’all know that I really play cornerback. Fred Smoot taught me everything I know.

Sister and I decided that it would be fun to join the other State fans who were going to greet the team buses when they got to the stadium, so we walked in that direction and took in Auburn’s gameday atmosphere. Honestly, I was expecting more tailgating than what we saw, but I’ll give the Tigers the benefit of the doubt since it was a morning game and all. Plus, whatever Auburn lacked in the tailgating department, they more than made up for with the landscaping.

Do you see all of that perfectly placed pinestraw? The whole campus looked that way, and it was absolutely beautiful. Call us cow colleges all you want, but nobody can landscape like ag schools can. Combine the beautiful surroundings with down-to-earth, friendly people, and you have an atmosphere where visitors are quick to feel right at home. I’ll take that kind of genuine hospitality ALL DAY LONG. It makes for a mighty fun day of football.

While we were waiting for the team, Sister and I snapped a picture of ourselves despite the fact that we were both suffering from a terrible bout of the flat head. Neither one of us achieved our hair volume goals when we were getting ready Saturday morning, and I told myself that it was because the Lord wanted us to walk in a place of pre-game humility. My hair was so flat, in fact, that I was almost overcome by hair shame, but I felt better knowing that my flat-headed sister was with me. The Lord never lets us walk through these sorts of difficult times alone, you know.

Also, my head is enormous.

Seriously. EPIC.

We headed for our gate about an hour before the game started, but we had a wee small moment of panic before we went into the stadium. I may or may not* have had a cowbell in my purse, and Sister may or may not* have had a cowbell in her purse, and we were worried that our ALLEGED cowbells might be confiscated. We didn’t have any intention of ringing our ALLEGED cowbells during the game, but we’d taken them to meet the buses and ALLEGEDLY wrapped them up in t-shirts and put them in the bottom of our purses.

We also allegedly stuffed socks around the clangers so that they wouldn’t make any sudden noises.

ALLEGEDLY.

Our concerns were unfounded, though, and we made it through the bag checkpoints relatively unscathed. A few minutes later we found our seats and were pleasantly surprised to find that we 1) actually had really good seats and 2) were sitting in THE BLESSED SHADE. We were so excited about that second thing, and even though we knew we couldn’t avoid the sun forever, it surely was nice to know that we had a temporary reprieve.

As the stadium started to fill up we realized that while there were lots of State fans in our section, there were also lots of Auburn folks, and you really never know how that’s going to work out. I have to say, though, that we totally hit the Auburn fan jackpot. The people around us were so nice, so gracious, and so understanding of our occasional (and by “occasional,” I mean “frequent”) need to very vocally support our team.

Like, for instance, when they ran back in the locker room after warm-ups.

The game, in a word, was crazy. Initially Auburn was fired up and State was just flat-out rattled. Eventually, though, the ‘Dogs started to find their way. By the end of the first quarter we had us a real-live ballgame, and Sister and I were as nervous as a couple of long-tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs. By the beginning of the 4th quarter I started to think that the ‘Dogs were out of it for good – but then lo and behold we rallied, pulled within 7 and had a chance to tie or maybe even win the game in the final seconds.

But we didn’t.

And oh, IT SMARTED.

By the way, the sun was brutal during the second half, and while Sister managed to construct an effective sunshade out of an Alpha Gam fan (courtesy of the sweet family next to us) and an MSU shaker, I was not quite as fortunate. At times I draped the t-shirt that I had allegedly used to conceal my alleged cowbell OVER MY HEAD, but apparently my SPF was no match for the BALL OF FIRE in the sky. My sunglasses, however, were very effective, and that is why my face is now hot pink with the exception of two very large white circles around my eyes.

SASSY.

(*YES MA’AM we had cowbells in our purses. THAT’S OUR HERITAGE, Y’ALL. But we really didn’t ring them in the stadium.)

Anyway, even though I have A LOT OF THOUGHTS about how some things went during the game – especially in the second half – at the end of the day none of that stuff matters. Both teams fought like crazy, and in the end, Auburn won.

But did I mention that it smarted?

After the game we walked over to the Student Activities Center so that we could cool off and nurse our wounded pride for a little bit, and about 20 minutes later we decided to walk back to the car. The sun BALL OF FIRE was pounding on us every step of the way, so when we finally climbed in my car, I turned on the air and let it blow full-force for about five minutes before I even made an attempt to back out of my spot. We were BURNING UP – and when we stopped to eat supper on the way home, I am happy to report that I consumed approximately one gallon of assorted liquids. I alternated between water and unsweetened tea, and our poor waitress got a workout trying to keep my glasses refilled.

I believe the word you’re looking for is “dehydrated.”

All in all, though, it really was a great day. It was a great game. I wish things had gone the Bulldogs’ way, but hopefully we’ll bounce back this Thursday night against LSU.

Hopefully.

Because I don’t know if you’ve heard, but they are sort of REALLY, REALLY GOOD.

WE COULD TOTALLY WIN, THOUGH.

How’s that for optimism?

Go ‘Dogs.

An Oversized Tea Cozy Might Also Work

I’ve mentioned before that my mama is the queen of form over function. She likes for everything on display in her house to be aesthetically pleasing, which is precisely why she keeps all the bed pillows in a closet and not on the beds.

It’s also why she is constantly looking for new and inventive ways to hide Daddy’s computer. What with all those unseemly cords, you understand.

So when D and I bought the new-to-us elliptical motion machine last week, I have to confess that the part of me that shares my mama’s decorative gene pool desperately wanted to figure out a way to make everything pretty, to figure out how to cleverly disguise the six foot-long black steel contraption that is now taking up residence in our home. I even thought about putting the elliptical in another bedroom, but since we tend to have a good bit of company, it seemed silly to tear apart one of the extra bedrooms when there was plenty of room in ours.

After a couple of days of considering all of the possibilities, I made a final decision. The best place for the elliptical really is in a corner of the master bedroom. It would only require moving one little piece of furniture, so for the most part it would be a super-easy transition. It was the right thing to do.

However.

Once we got everything moved, I walked in our room and felt just the slightest sense of hesitation. Because, well, DADGUM. The elliptical is just so, you know, big. And imposing. And not made of wood. And not capable of displaying family photographs or stacks of favorite books.

(sidenote: That big thing on the wall to the right is the previous owners’ headboard for their bed frame. We’ve thought about removing it, but it’s so securely attached that the whole wall would come down with it. And that is why I try to pretend like it’s a decorative feature and not an annoyance, though sometimes it definitely feels more like that last thing.)

After we adjusted the angle of the elliptical a little bit and scooted it as far back into the corner as we could, I realized that I was just going to have to make my peace with it. It’s not the most attractive accent piece in our room, but it’s hopefully going to help me to feel better.

So as I stood there and stared at it and vowed that I wouldn’t let it rob me of my decorative mojo, D apparently picked up on the fact that I was hesistant. He knows how much I like for a room to have a good “flow,” and he knows this because he would’ve stationed some sort of recliner with a cooler as well as a massage feature in the dead-center of our living room a long time ago if he didn’t have to take my love for “flow” into account. And so, considering the fact that we’d just moved a 200-pound piece of machinery into the corner of our bedroom, he was able to recognize that I was feeling a little unsettled.

And that is when he grabbed a throw from a nearby chair, grinned, and said, “Here. I’ll fix it just like your mama would.”

God bless him. It made me so happy.

And just so you know: I didn’t leave it that way. I like to think that I’m growing as a person.

But you’d better believe that I reserve the right to construct some sort of elaborate six-sided decorative screen in order to conceal all those handlebars and and pedals and wheels.

I think I’ll call Mama and see if she wants to start drawing up the plans.

Do I Like To Talk To Tomatoes? Yes. Yes, I Do.

This summer the little man and I have gotten in the habit of going out to lunch together a couple of times a week. I don’t know how it started, really, but I imagine that it went something like this:

Me: “Hey, you want to go get some lunch?”
A: “Sure, Mama.”

We don’t typically do things with a lot of fanfare around here.

Anyway, our little lunch outings have been one of my favorite things about this summer. We usually end up at the eight year-old’s favorite Mexican place where we split an order of nachos. He drinks Coke. I drink unsweetened iced tea. We talk about whatever happens to come to mind.

Yesterday we had just started to dig in to our chips and salsa when Alex posed a question: “Mama? What are your favorite kids’ shows?” I think he’d been a little surprised Sunday night when he saw me watching Phineas & Ferb OF MY OWN FREE WILL (I am of the opinion that P&F is hilarious), and I guess he was trying to figure out if there were any other current kids’ shows that I like to watch just for kicks.

Which, for the record, NO.

And also for the record: I have never wanted to put any real-life child in time out as badly as I used to want to put Caillou in time out. In fact, I finally had to implement a strict “No Caillou” policy in our house because I COULD NOT TAKE HIS WHINING. At the time Alex was probably 4 or 5 and didn’t understand why Mama would get so angry at the TV, but listen: Caillou wore me out.

However, despite my Caillou aversion, there are some kids’ shows that have found a special place in my heart over the last few years.

1) Phineas & Ferb – It’s laugh-out-loud funny. Smart. Clever. And I’m just waiting for some sort of announcement that it’s going to be a major motion picture.

2) Little Bear – If I hear the theme music for Little Bear, odds are I’m going to say, “Awwwwww” shortly thereafter. There’s such a sweetness and timelessness to it. And Little Bear’s parents are the best.

3) A Snoodle’s Tale – Okay. I know. It’s not technically a TV show. But we have watched a LOT of Veggie Tales DVDs in our house over the years, and A Snoodle’s Tale is my all-time favorite. I can’t watch it without putting my hand over my heart while I sigh with great feeling. And when the narrator says, “A gift that’s demanded is no gift at all” – well, forget it. MAMA’S GONNA NEED SOME TISSUES.

Wait! I have a fourth! And it’s a movie!

4) Finding Nemo – I could watch it a thousand times. OH, HOLD ON. I PROBABLY ALREADY HAVE. But I just adore it.

Are there any kids’ shows or movies that you’re always happy to watch? Or that you might even love more than the kids in your life do?

Beachy

We are on day four – no, five – of our cousins’ beach trip, and I am happy to say that it has been delightful. There have been a couple of minor conflicts and a small number of minor injuries (boys like to run. everywhere.), but by and large it’s been great. And as an added bonus, I was able to watch the season finale of The Bachelorette with my aunt and my cousin Paige. WE HAD SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT SOME THINGS.

Yesterday, in the interest of a change-o-pace, we went to a putt-putt place for a couple of hours. I didn’t really think about the weather before we left, but once we had secured our putters and golf balls, there was no avoiding the fact that OH SWEET MERCY IT WAS 408 DEGREES OUTSIDE. At one point I saw sweat rolling down the top of my arm, and I spent several minutes trying to figure out how in the world that even happens. The kids were gamers but started to wilt a little bit by the 10th hole, and by the 14th hole I was wondering if anyone has ever collapsed from heat exhaustion ON A PUTT-PUTT COURSE.

I think this picture offers an excellent illustration of yesterday’s level of heat and humidity.

Yes ma’am. It was REFRESHING outside.

After we finished all 18 holes in the putt-putt sauna, we limped into the arcade and ordered the largest Icees available. The kids cooled off, grabbed some quarters, and pretty much hollered like crazy for the next hour or so. My child never took off his hat, and that’s why I have lots of pictures of him and his cousin J that look like this.

No kidding: every single time I see the two of them together, I think, Well, there’s Papaw and Scooter McGee.

So that’s pretty much it from our end of things. Lots of heat, lots of swimming, some occasional crying, and lots of laughing.

And it is good.

Some Riveting Updates

Well, I need to thank y’all for inspiring me to get my earrings organized (OH MY LANDS – that is a first world sentence isn’t it?). I was going to try the ice cube trays method, but I kind of have a thing for big hoop earrings, and I didn’t think they’d fit. I found some adorable little jewelry trees at the Steinmart, but since those kind of things require some follow-through (you have to hang the earrings as opposed to tossing them into their designated spot), I knew that they’d look great initially but eventually become decorative pieces with earrings scattered around the base.

But then I went to Home Goods, and I found a really big jewelry tray that seemed like the perfect solution. It can live (stay, sit, whatever) on top of a chest in my closet, so it’s not anything that has to be stowed / put away every single day. Also, since there’s a limited amount of compartments, the tray forced me to CLEAN OUT THE EARRING HODGEPODGE, ALREADY. And finally, I think it’s cute.

So here you have it.

I know that for those of y’all who are super-organized, that tray probably makes you twitch a little bit. But for me, someone who is definitely NOT super-organized, it’s just the right mix of flexibility and structure. It makes me happy.

Next.

This week is our annual cousins’ beach trip. Since the husbands aren’t here because of work stuff, my cousin Paige and I spent most of yesterday afternoon unloading the cars, unpacking the groceries and planning the meals. We also spent a significant amount of time getting really tickled about nothing in particular and then laughing until we wheezed. It’s what we do.

I went to the grocery store in Birmingham last Friday night so that I could get some of the “staples shopping” out of the way. I like to shop in a familiar environment, and a grocery trip at the beach takes twice as long because I don’t know where anything is. Anyway, the cousins’ beach trip is the one time all year when we pretty much throw caution to the wind with snack foods. It’s vacation. ENJOY THE POTATO CHIPS, KIDS.

All that to say: when I was about to check out at the grocery store I snapped a picture of my cart. Because I SHOULD BE ASHAMED.

Please note the redemptive presence of the low sugar grape jelly. And there’s some fruit buried in there somewhere.

And seriously, what’s going on with potato chips these days? I bought a package of the Loaded Baked Potato Pringles because I know an eight year-old who thinks they’re the greatest special snack ever, but I didn’t know what to think when I was steering my car down the aisle and saw these:

People, we may need to accept the fact that we’ve exhausted all of our flavor options as far as the potato chip is concerned. We may need to be done.

Of course, the bacon cheeseburger chips were next to the Molten Hot Wings chips (which several people on the Twitter said were absolutely delicious), so it looks like we may be in the midst of a specialty flavors trend. I can only imagine the possibilities.

Lobster Fettucine chips?

Chicken Parmesan chips?

Lamb Gyro chips?

Fish & Chips chips?

There’s not a bit of telling what’s next.

Party Of Three

This was dessert at our house last night. After a quick trip to Walgreens, of course.

I bet you’ll only need one guess to figure out which flavor belongs to the eight year-old.

Have a great weekend, everybody!