Hard Headed

After he told me my ankle was broken, one of the first questions the doctor asked me was, “So. Are you going to be able to stay off your feet and keep your leg propped up and do all the good things that will help you to heal faster?”

And I said, “Oh, yes sir. For sure.”

And then I said, “Can I still go to the James Taylor concert?”

And “Can I still go to the State / Alabama game?”

And “I’m supposed to go to West Monroe this Sunday; can I still do that?”

He told me that I needed to use my best judgment – and then he gave me some parameters that I needed to follow.

The bottom line, I think, was that the very best thing I could do was to sit my behind at the house. But I’d made a couple of commitments and I really wanted to go to the game and also I am stubborn and sometimes a little stupid and etc.

So Wednesday night, I went to see James Taylor with my friends. It was wonderful. HE was wonderful. Our seats weren’t the greatest, but right after the show started, one of the ushers walked by to make sure we could see okay – and when she realized that there was a big ole camera in the way of most of our seats, she offered to move everybody. It was the sweetest thing. By that point I was a little reluctant to move because I had sort of made friends with the ticket checker assigned to our section (in the middle of “Song For You Far Away,” she looked at me and said, “YOU KNOW, IT’S REALLY COLD IN HERE,” but I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I haven’t been cold indoors since approximately 2007 and then, when Elise and Tracey started moving to their new seats, she said, “WHERE ARE YOUR FRIENDS GOING?” – almost like she was afraid they’d decided that they didn’t like being with me anymore).

I ended up moving with Leah and Heather to some seats on the floor. The last few rows on one side were mostly empty, and I was able to prop up my foot / boot for the duration of the concert, which was ever so delightful. James Taylor is totally inspiring, and I love how he just STAYS WITH IT. He could have gotten jaded about singing “Fire and Rain” three nights a week and turned super cynical about having to sing “You’ve Got a Friend” ONE MORE TIME, but there appears to be some deep-down contentment in that man.

In my opinion, of course.

Please keep in mind that I do not know him even a little bit.

So I’m pretty much basing all of my assumptions on a lot of my personal feelings.

ANYWAY, my ankle was in fine shape on Friday morning, and I felt good about traveling to Tuscaloosa the next day. I might not have been quite so FULL-O-HOPE if I’d known how the first half of the game was going to go, but Sister, Alex, and I were excited about seeing the ‘Dogs play at Bryant-Denny. I ended up walking a little (LOT) more than I’d planned, and towards the end of a significant trek across campus – just as we were about to cross over to a side street for Dawg Walk – I officially hit my limit with crowds and tree roots and the F bomb (SERIOUSLY, COLLEGE STUDENTS OF AMERICA – LET’S PICK ANOTHER WORD) and the smell of bourbon and Coke. I promise I’m not being judge-y – heaven knows I’ve been to more than my share of SEC football games, so I am all caught up on the social culture. I’m just saying that the addition of the boot to my game day experience did not really do anything to increase my patience.

It did not help that my left hip was very angry from all the lopsided walking.

I even told Sister that I was tempted to pull some Icy Hot out of my purse and slather it on right there next to the stadium.

Thankfully, though, our experience inside the stadium was better. Our seats were on the end of a row (thank you, Lord) and next to the entrance for our section. We were right in the middle of the State fans, and some really sweet guys sat in front of us and high-fived Alex whenever anything remotely positive happened for the Bulldogs. There was a halftime incident where someone who had overserved himself caused a commotion with a couple of State fans and was removed from the game by a policeman, so Alex got his first up-close and personal lesson in Here Are Some Ways That Whiskey Will Betray You. I’m not sure that it’s a lesson I would’ve chosen, but every once in a while you just have to seize a teachable moment, I reckon.

The game didn’t end like we hoped, but we were proud that there’s no quit in our ‘Dogs. In fact, when we scored our final touchdown with just a few seconds on the clock, I gave Alex an impromptu pep talk about character and loyalty and perseverance that would have made Matt Foley look like a timid wallflower. Sister chimed in, too, and while I don’t know if A. actually remembers a word we said, I feel like we made some valid points. So if nothing else, I reckon, we left the stadium on an upbeat note.

Unfortunately, that upbeat note became a sad trombone when we walked the sixteen miles back to our car.

It was way later than I expected when we finally got home Saturday night, and Sunday morning I left fairly early for West Monroe, where Melanie and I were speaking. I decided on the way there that I was as tired as I’d ever been (ALL. MY. FAULT., by the way), but as soon as I saw Melanie and met the women in the church, I pepped up. We had such a good time and laughed a whole bunch and talked about a whole host of topics, so that made for a pretty awesome way to spend a Sunday evening.

So. Now I’m home. And I am determined – DETERMINED, I TELL YOU – to really rest this week and take good care of my ankle and not go to any concerts and maybe (?) stay out of football stadiums and keep my leg propped up at work and basically do all those things that will help me heal a little faster. I pushed way too hard last week, and while I’m mighty glad that I was able to do the stuff I’d planned to do, the theme of my life for the next two weeks is going to be STAY AT HOME, EUNICE. David has already offered to cook everything for Thanksgiving if I’ll sit nearby and offer advice / instruction, and while the part of me that LOVES to plan and prepare all that food hates to miss out of making the big list and going to the store and figuring out when to cook what, I think that even my inner control freak realizes that three days of standing up in the kitchen probably wouldn’t be the smartest move.

This feels like a very level-headed decision that is full of grown-upness and also maturity.

In other words: NOT MY NORM.

Hope y’all are having a great week!

There’s Sort Of A Big Game This Weekend

It’s been a weird week, what with finding out about my broken ankle and then spending Wednesday night trying to figure out how to prop up said ankle at a James Taylor concert (more on that later) and then dedicating much of my spare time to analyzing Mississippi State’s upcoming game against Alabama. I also made my first trip to the grocery store while wearing my boot (I only went to Fresh Market, so it wasn’t a hike around a giant Publix or anything like that), and last night I cooked supper for the first time in a week. I felt only slightly less accomplished than an Olympian.

Anyway, here are a few things I’ve been meaning to mention.

1. Since I work with teenage girls, I stay sort of perpetually ticked off at all the ways the culture lies to them. Here are two great blog posts that speak some truth: Annie Downs’ What you should tell your teen (and yourself) about Kim Kardashian and LisaJo Baker’s In A Culture of Fast Food Sex Let’s Give Our Kids Healthier Choices.

2. This Sunday Melanie and I are speaking at First Baptist West Monroe. We would love to see some of y’all there!

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I didn’t know that image was going to be quite so big until I added it. A thousand pardons.

3. “We’re all we’ve got; we’re all we need.”

Sister, Alex and I are headed to Tuscaloosa tomorrow. Yes, I KNOW I’M WEARING A LARGE ORTHOPEDIC BOOT. But something about this game feels once-in-a-lifetime to me. We may win, we may lose – but it’s the biggest game in Mississippi State history.

Hail State and Go ‘Dogs.

Apparently My Ankle Failed To Look At The Calendar

I woke up this morning and immediately felt like my ankle was better. I’d slept great, my foot didn’t feel as stiff, and the swelling wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be.

So you can imagine my surprise when I went to the doctor and he told me that I’d broken my ankle.

The good news is that it’s a really clean break. He gave me the option of a boot or a cast, and I picked a boot because NO CRUTCHES. Apparently boots fall under a category in our insurance where we have to meet a certain deductible for it to be completely covered, so I had to pay for the boot out of pocket. I didn’t mind at all because NO CRUTCHES, but after the receptionist handed me my receipt it occurred to me that this boot is pretty much the most expensive shoe I’ve ever owned in my life.

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It’s certainly not the cutest, though.

On the way home from the doctor I started to think about everything that’s going on in the next six weeks – including, you know, CHRISTMAS – and I started to feel a little panick-y because THIS IS NOT A TERRIBLY CONVENIENT TIME FOR A BROKEN BONE. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I can still do almost everything that I’d planned to do; the only catch is that I’m going to have to move a little slower. “Hurry” is not really an option for me right now. The boot will not allow it.

And honestly, I’m not so sure that that’s a bad thing. Especially during the holidays.

Clearly I’m in the middle of a glass-half-full moment.

And also: DENIAL.

But let’s just run with it, okay?

By the way, Hazel is just sick with guilt.

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Obviously.

I do hope you’ll keep her in your prayers.

An Unexpected Turn Of Events

I mentioned a while back that Melanie and I were going to speak at a women’s event in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we did just that this past weekend. I thought I’d never get my ducks in a row and be ready to leave town this past Friday, but somehow I did and made it to the airport with a little time to spare. The security line was unusually long, and I was a smidge worried about getting busted for carrying a gallon-sized plastic bag in my carry-on instead of a quart-sized one, but I made it through without incident and then enjoyed sitting all by myself (on one side of the exit row) all the way to the Charlotte. We were on a small, thirteen-row plane, and while I know that some people can’t stand a smaller plane, I enjoy the fire out of them because 1) you can gate-check a bag and 2) it doesn’t take forever to get off the plane. Sure, there aren’t any TVs in the headrests, and there’s no place to charge an iPad, but what a small plane lacks in terms of convenience it makes up for in efficiency. And that is fine by me.

After I landed I met the precious girls who planned the weekend (hi Sonia! hi Marti!), and Melanie arrived a couple of hours later. We’d never done anything like this particular event – we’d never gotten to tag-team with speaking – but oh my goodness, it was the most fun. I spoke Friday night, Mel spoke Saturday morning (and was awesome), and then after lunch we did sort of a live podcast-type thing with our favorite things and Q&A. We got to meet some of the sweetest women, and we had a blast all the way around.

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I also think you’ll be proud to know that after everything was over Friday night, Melanie and I went back to my hotel room and ate Pretzel Crisps with French onion dip because KLASSY.

Once we finished up on Saturday, we headed to the airport, and we immediately sought out some very average Mexican food in the main concourse area. We sat down just in time for the Texas A&M / Auburn game, and I honestly don’t know what was more entertaining: watching the game or watching Melanie watch the game. We eventually had to leave so that we could go catch our flights, and when I landed in Birmingham, there was something like 30 seconds left in the 4th quarter of A&M/AU and some very! excited! texts from Melanie on my phone. I immediately checked to make sure that State had in fact defeated UT-Martin because YOU JUST NEVER KNOW, and by the time I got to my car in the parking garage (which, by the way, the parking garage at the B’ham airport is currently going through a renovation, and there is so much heavy plastic sheeting in that structure that it ever-so-slightly CREEPS ME OUT), I was fired up and ready for Alabama / LSU.

On the way home I got to listen to Eli Gold broadcast live from Death Valley, and between the full moon and the brisk air and the big-time game and the prospect of seeing my people, I was just FULL-O-LIFE-AND-WONDER. I turned off of the interstate thinking that there was absolutely nowhere on earth I’d rather be than Birmingham, Alabama, and I couldn’t wait to pick up some supper and get to the house and put on pajamas and settle in front of the TV to watch Les Miles eat some grass.

I pulled into our driveway just a few minutes after kick-off, and as soon as I got inside Hazel just lost her mind. It was like she had forgotten all about me but then realized OH, WAIT – YOU’VE BEEN GONE – and she jumped and licked and yelped and jumped and cried. She was so happy, in fact, that she tee-teed in the hallway, and I know that to be true because when I was walking down the hall to go change into pajamas, I slipped in said tee-tee and wasn’t at all sure what was happening until I found myself sprawled on top of the new rug that I bought for my foyer.

As it turns out, that rug is very cushiony.

But that rug, unfortunately, was not underneath my right ankle when I slipped.

Oh, y’all. I’m afraid that there isn’t a lick of grace or poise anywhere in me because it was evident pretty quickly that I’d put the hurt on my ankle. Some of you may remember that I took a weird step onto our friends’ porch a few years ago, and last night was that same level of pain except that this time (in The Great Tee-Tee Fall of Fall 2014, as I’m calling it) the pain and swelling are in a completely different place. My ankle is also way more burn-y, if that makes sense. I don’t have any idea if it’s sprained or broken or if I just jacked up some tendons and whatnot, but regardless we are headed to the doctor in the morning. I was hoping that if I just elevated and iced it and stayed off of it as best I could that it would be ALL BETTER today, but it still hurts a lot, and I have kind of a deep, nagging feeling that I may need a boot.

All that to say: I have spent all day today resting and icing and listening to Hazel snore. Bless her heart, she has pretty much stayed right beside me. I don’t think she has any idea that her overactive bladder was the cause of my fall, so please don’t tell her if you see her. I’m afraid that she’d just be wracked with guilt. I’ve probably overcompensated with her a little bit; I even gave her a special dog cookie that two girls in Charlotte (hey Meredith and Emma!) sent home with me.

So. I don’t necessarily think that this week is going to look like I thought it would. I was all geared up for a trip to Atlanta and IKEA tomorrow, but that’s not gonna happen. Fortunately I don’t have to work tomorrow or Tuesday, so that gives me a little more recovery time. And I think we all know that my Bulldogs have the biggest game ever this coming Saturday, so I’m hoping Coach Mullen won’t decide – especially in light of my tee-tee-related injury – to keep me on the bench. My team needs me, y’all – especially in Bryant Denny.

I promise that I smiled when I typed that.

BUT I’D SUIT UP IF THEY ASKED.

17 Mostly Unrelated Things

1. “Out of the Woods” by Taylor Swift may very well be the catchiest song I’ve ever heard.

2. I bought a new rug for our foyer this past weekend, and it pretty much makes me feel like we have a completely new house. I love when little things make a big difference.

3. It’s been a week since I upgraded, and I’m still not a fan of the Yosemite OS. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT.

4. Monday was chock full of what I like to call Mama Neurosis – overwhelmed with worry. Not a single bit of it was founded in anything resembling reality. So that was a good waste of all sorts of energy.

5. This print by GraceLaced was in my gift bag from Allume, and over the weekend I framed it and put it in my kitchen. It is just beautiful (the picture is terrible, but the print is beautiful).

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6. Kari Kampakis is one of my new favorite people (we live in the same town), and if you are the mama of a girl – or the aunt or grandmother of a girl – her new book is such a great resource. It’s called 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know, and it is full of wisdom that’s practical and grounded in scripture.

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7. Here’s another new release for you: Kelly Minter’s What Love Is. It’s a new Bible study, and if you have never done one of Kelly’s Bible studies, now is the time to change that. She is a phenomenal Bible teacher, an engaging writer, and I CANNOT WAIT to go through this study. It is next on my list.

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8. I don’t have any idea how long this will last, but as a lifelong Mississippi State fan, I don’t think it will ever stop being surreal.

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9. Ever since the time changed, I keep thinking that it’s about 9:30 at night when it’s really about 6:15. My inner time predictor is way off-kilter.

10. I just took an unintended hour-long break from writing this post because my trackpad on my computer lost its mind and kept moving to the left across my screen and I couldn’t control my cursor. So there you have it: the nerdiest sentence I have ever written.

11. Priscilla Shirer interviewing Lisa Whelchel? Yes, please.

12. And speaking of Priscilla, here’s one more Bible study treasure.

Breathe Promo from Going Beyond on Vimeo.

13. Oatmeal with blueberries is my breakfast BFF right now.

14. Our polling place has quit using the pens that I love, and today I wanted to ask, “WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOOD PENS?” I didn’t say anything, though, because Alex was with me and I didn’t really want to communicate to him that one of the things I enjoy most about voting is the particular brand of pen we typically have available. Well, and the fact that I want to exercise my right to participate in the selection of elected officials. Of course. Naturally. FOR SURE that is the bigger issue. Pens are way down the list. #3, at least.

15. I am really kidding about that last thing. Except that I LOVE THOSE PENS.

16. When I was at State for the A&M game, I went to my old sorority house for a post-game reception-type thingie. I made a point to find all the composites from my time there, and I believe my senior year combination of perm and bob will really bless you. I’ll call it a “pob.”

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17. Alex just looked at the previous picture and said, “Mama? What’s up with your hair?” EXCELLENT QUESTION.

Hope y’all are having a great week!

As An Added Bonus, My Kitchen Is Oh-So-Clean

We started off our weekend with some trick-or-treating, and you can imagine my delight when Dak Prescott showed up.

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Obviously he looks a lot younger in this picture than he does on TV.

Alex and his buddies had a blast trick-or-treating, and by the time we got home Friday night, we were all pretty much GIDDY with the knowledge that we didn’t have one thing on our calendar for Saturday. I had the best time doing some stuff around the house Saturday morning and afternoon; I wasn’t even deterred by the fact that Hazel decided that November 1 was a fine time for her inaugural dip in the pond behind our house. She ran out of the garage when I was trying to get some groceries inside, and when she got to the back yard, it was like she saw that water for the first time and thought, “TODAY IS THE DAY.” Thankfully she didn’t swim for long; I said on Twitter that it was like she experienced four seconds of pure joy and then about ten minutes of WHOA NELLIE, THAT WAS COLD.

I know this is so boring, y’all. I do apologize. And I haven’t even gotten to the part about the football game yet.

So.

As long as I can remember, my go-to activity during a nerve-wracking ball game – whether it’s football, basketball, or baseball – has been vacuuming. My vacuum has gotten through many a difficult game time situation, most notably the Bulldogs’ road win against Florida in 2010, the 2009 SEC basketball tournament championship, and just about every single game of the 2013 College World Series.

I get that it’s sort of a random coping mechanism, but win or lose, my floors are clean.

Lately, though, I can’t vacuum during games because Hazel is convinced that the vacuum is a monster that is intent on destroying our family. I honestly thought about recording her reaction to the vacuum cleaner Saturday afternoon, but she goes so completely cuckoo that it almost seemed insensitive to document the crazy for the internet. The fear is deep, and the fear is consuming, and the fear may or may not convince her that she needs to attempt to grab the base of the vacuum with her teeth.

ALLEGEDLY.

I say all of that because Saturday night, when Mississippi State played Arkansas, I was as nervous as I’ve ever been before a game. I have no idea why. But I was SICK with nerves. Maybe it’s because I was on campus for the last two games and felt on some level like I was messing with the Bulldogs’ mojo. I knew it would be a tough game – the Arkansas game always is – and it’s still a little weird to me that we’re ranked #1 because in my personal opinion we are far more comfortable when we’re a middle-of-the-pack team and have the opportunity to surprise some folks. Now we’re just a big ole maroon target, and it’s a whole different mindset.

I just said all of that like I personally have sacrificed countless hours to prepare for the season and maybe even participated in two-a-days back in August.

I may be taking things a smidge too far in terms of feeling a personal connection to this year’s team.

Anyway.

We were down 10-7 at the half, and despite a deep, almost visceral need to vacuum, I couldn’t because of Hazel. I’d already vacuumed Saturday afternoon, and I just couldn’t make her confront The Oreck Monster for the second time in a day. I had already cleaned my countertops to the point that I may have unintentionally scrubbed away a solid quarter-inch of counter height, and I’d also thrown out all the old mail / school forms / random pieces of paper that seem to multiply in our mail basket / catch-all bowl on top of the oven.

So. In the 4th quarter, right about the time that Arkansas was driving the ball and the Bulldogs were setting up for a goal-line stand, I decided that I might as well touch up the paint on my kitchen cabinets. And for the rest of the game, that is precisely what I did. I had a little trouble convincing Hazel to stay away from the wet paint on the lower cabinets, but by and large the painting soothed my nerves and convinced me that I would in fact be able to make it through the game without the assistance of medical professionals or, at the very least, a small defibrillator.

I give all thanks to the Lord and also to Benjamin Moore’s Wythe Blue.

So when the ‘Dogs finally intercepted the Hogs’ final pass into the end zone, I put down my paint brush and celebrated like a madwoman right here in the corner of my kitchen. David came flying down the hall – he’d been watching in our room – and after we celebrated and shared our relief that FINALLY, THAT IS OVER, I had to put my hands on my knees like I’d been running a half-marathon and needed a breather.

This is where I live, people. Smack-dab in the middle of the intersection of Neurotic and Over-Invested.

It took me a couple of hours to calm down from all my cleaning and painting and cheering, but I was just as tickled as I could be when I woke up Sunday morning with the memory of the Bulldogs’ win and the added assurance that my kitchen cabinets were a little more spiffy than normal.

So basically what I’m saying is that there were wins all the way around.

Hope your weekend was a good one!