Out Of The Loop I Am

So granted, I haven’t paid much attention to pop culture this year. It’s not that I’m not interested; it’s just that the year has been super full and I haven’t had a lot of time to keep up with entertainment news. Plus, since I’ve been working on a new book for the last five months, I have barely watched TV (with the exception of about three things I faithfully DVR).

Anyway, I say all of that because the fact that there’s a new Star Wars movie somehow missed the exit ramp onto my personal information superhighway. I mean, I knew in the back of my head that they were filming one, but I didn’t know what it was about, or who was in it, or when it was being released.

WELL.

Yesterday at lunch David and Alex were talking about the new Star Wars movie, and I said, “When does that come out?” They laughed at first, thinking that I was kidding. But a few seconds later, when they realized that I really had no idea, they looked at me like I was a stranger.

I knew that I needed a conversational rebound, so I tried this one: “Is it even supposed to be good?”

David did an honest-to-goodness double-take and probably wondered who I was and how he ended up sitting next to me in Chuy’s. “IT’S JJ ABRAMS,” he said. “It’s a huge deal, and it’s supposed to be REALLY good. The internet loses its mind every time a new trailer is released. Whenever people see new footage, they analyze it like crazy.”

I know that the quote "Luke, I am your father" has nothing to do with this picture, but that's the only Star Wars quote I know, so I am running with it.

I know that the quote “Luke, I am your father” has nothing to do with this picture, but that’s the only Star Wars quote I know, so I am running with it.

I nodded, somewhat puzzled since there is clearly way more buzz than I thought – and that was when the high level of my clueless state started to sink in with my husband.

“You really didn’t know?” he asked. He laughed for just a second, and then I started to see legitimate concern. “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? HOW HAVE YOU MISSED THIS? IT’S STAR WARS!” And the whole time David was talking, Alex just sat there, staring at me and shaking his head. I think he may have been embarrassed.

“HEY. I DON’T REALLY FOLLOW THE STAR WARS,” I replied.

“I’VE BEEN WRITING A BOOK,” I continued.

“I SURE DID USED TO LOVE PRINCESS LEIA’S HAIR,” I added, hoping that my fake enthusiasm would buy me a half-ounce of credibility.

About that time some friends of ours walked in Chuy’s, and before he made it all the way to our table, our friend Wes looked at David and Alex and said, “Are y’all so excited about Star Wars?!”

Then my head exploded.

So. Apparently Star Wars is A THING. I have been sufficiently Star Wars shamed. But really, I DIDN’T KNOW, y’all. I barely remember what happened in the first three. Couldn’t put together a loose outline if my life depended on it. This is not an area where I excel.

Are y’all excited about the new Star Wars movie? Or will you be like me and stay home to watch House Hunters while your people make a beeline for the theatre?

Jam-Packed With Fun & Also Expenses

I feel like the most important thing I can tell you at the beginning of this post is that I was approximately ten minutes away from having our Thanksgiving dinner completely ready when I turned on the disposal and the other side of the sink filled up with water.

And that leads me to the second most important thing I can tell you: nothing will diminish your Thanksgiving Day appetite like watching the remnants from your disposal back up into the opposite side of the sink.

It took me a few seconds to process what was happening, but once I did, I ran to get the plunger and tried to unstop the drain. After a couple of minutes I realized that my efforts were futile, so I took a deep breath, reminded myself that it was time for our meal, and then I covered up the sink with a towel, oh yes I did. It was exactly what Mama would do in the same situation, and I wanted to spare my family from having to look at all that, um, unpleasantness when they walked through the kitchen. Truth be told I didn’t really want to look at it, either.

So Thanksgiving lunch was fine and semi-delicious (THAT SINK WATER, Y’ALL – it was etched into my my brain like a cattle brand), but as soon as we were finished I hopped in the car and ran up to the Rite Aid so I could buy some Drano and maybe even some special Metholatum that my sister had told me about that morning.

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I believe it’s been said that when your sink clogs on Thanksgiving Day, a new variety of Mentholatum will make everything all better.

(I haven’t even tried the new Mentholatum yet, by the way.)

(I’m saving it for a special occasion. Like Christmas. Or maybe this winter’s first cold. Whichever comes first.)

I handed the Drano over to David and Daddy as soon as I got back to the house, and I proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon watching football and talking to Mama and reading football message boards because DENIAL IS FUN. By about 4:30 that afternoon, though, we knew we were going to need the professionals, and that is how I wound up asking RotoRooter to please come to our Thanksgiving Day rescue.

They absolutely rescued us, by the way. And just in case you ever need this information for one of your own holiday weekends, the fine folks at RotoRooter do not charge extra for holiday service calls, oh hallelujah.

So by 6:30 the drain was unclogged, the kitchen was clean, and my nerves had returned to a semi-normal state of operation. It was a delightful evening.

Friday morning I decided that I needed to be a responsible grown-up and take my car to the shop. Ever since my battery ran down a couple of weeks ago, my car has been iffy about cranking, and while there are many aspects of car operation that might be considered optional, cranking is sort of a requirement. Daddy followed me to our favorite repair place, but they were so swamped that they couldn’t look at it, and the short version of this miles-long story is that I ended up going to the dealership to get them to look at it. Turned out that I needed a new battery and oh, by the way, four new tires, too.

So at that point it all became sort of comical. Because why not just take money out of our checking account and throw it up in the air and see who grabs it first? Why not stack it in front of an open door and then turn on a fan? Or why not this?

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I have to say, though, that the battery was totally worth it because my car cranks oh-so-reliably now. I’m sure I will feel that way about the tires after I recover from the sticker shock, which hopefully will be sometime in early 2018.

On Saturday Sister and I made a quick trip to Starkville for the Egg Bowl. Even though the Bulldogs lost, we really did have the best time. We went to Dawg Walk, where I used my cowbell to keep a tree limb out of my eyes for the better part of 30 minutes, and then we got to visit with Daph, Marion, Elizabeth, and Wendi before the game. We sat with my dear friend Bubba for the first half of the game, then with my beloved TRiels (if you read my last book, TRiels is Tracey) during the second half. I am here to tell you that T, Sister, and I SOLVED SOME THINGS during the third and fourth quarters, so even if my competitive side was a little disappointed by the final Egg Bowl score, my relational side was overjoyed. And getting this message from Alex at the beginning of the 4th quarter made it even better.

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Of all the forms of optimism, the blind variety may be my very favorite.

Sister and I got home late Saturday night (well, really it was early Sunday morning), and after our people headed back to their respective corners of the southeast, David, Alex, and I embraced our inner introverts and enjoyed the most relaxing Sunday afternoon. After spending five days in a hotel room together and then five more with family, it was like we all intuitively knew that NOW IT IS TIME TO BE QUIET. And by the time my alarm went off early Monday morning, I was actually ready to get back into the routine of work and school and writing and etc. Plus, I’d missed my work people, and I couldn’t wait to hear what everybody had been up to over the break.

So. That was Thanksgiving 2015 for us. Well, all of that and the fact that I listened to “All I Ask” by Adele approximately 32 times. I recognize that this is a whole separate discussion, but it’s been a long time since I heard a ballad with not one but two key changes in the final 90 seconds, and for that reason I say KADOOZ TO ADELE.

And Merry Christmas to y’all. Hope your Thanksgiving holidays were great, too!

A Decade Of Rambling And Also Fancy (Numbered!) Lists

We just got home from spending a few days at Universal Studios in Orlando, and I think it was one of my favorite family trips ever. For one thing we love riding rides and rollercoasters and basically participating in all the theme park activities, but I especially loved being outside for a few days. Granted, I was walking around in replicas of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade instead of, you know, nature, but my goodness it was nice to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air and see a little bit more of the sky than I normally do. We had so much fun, and if you ever get a chance to take a Universal trip with your people, I highly recommend it.

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In addition to all the adventures in the park, we also experienced the rollercoaster that was the Mississippi State / Arkansas game this past Saturday night. I MEAN MY GOODNESS. We actually had to stop watching for a little bit during the 3rd quarter because State started to fall apart and my nerves couldn’t take it, and after about 10 minutes of no game, everybody fell asleep except for me. I couldn’t stand not knowing what was going on, though, so I grabbed my iPad and headphones and jumped back on the crazy train.

Well. When we blocked that field goal at the end of the game, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I couldn’t yell because of the sleeping people, but the adrenaline rush was something else. So I ended up sending a lot of ALL CAPS texts. WITH MANY EMOJIS.

And then I watched the game all over again via the WatchESPN app because TECHNOLOGY IS A MARVEL.

This week we have the Egg Bowl, of course, and I plan to dedicate several hours to research and YouTube videos on Thanksgiving afternoon. Before I can do that, though, I have to get ready for the actual Thanksgiving meal, and that is why I went to the grocery store right after we got home today. I feel very strongly about getting Thanksgiving groceries squared away before amateur hour cranks up Wednesday afternoon (amateur hour is when people who don’t do a lot of grocery shopping get sent to the store to pick up a few last-minute items, only they don’t know where to find what they need since they rarely grocery shop, and this is why grocery carts really should come with a horn or at the very least a whistle).

Thankfully I was able to shop without any major incident, and after being out of town and then pretty much not cooking the week before we left, I think it’s safe to say that I needed a few things.

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We’ll have family here on Thursday and then another round on Saturday, so it’ll be big fun to get in the kitchen and cook and bake and whathaveyou. I have already decided that I’m not thinking about my book deadline again until Sunday, so I’m gonna enjoy our company and the holiday.

Last thing.

In about nine minutes it’ll be Wednesday, November 25th, which just so happens to be the blog’s 10th birthday. I cannot believe that it was ten years ago when I sat down and wrote my very first post, but it was. Alex was two. I had been married for eight years. We lived in a different house. And I had never even thought about writing a book since pipe dreams weren’t really my thing.

Life’s a kick, y’all.

So on this Thanksgiving, know that I am so grateful for you and the fact that you take the time to read here. Even though I’ve been more sporadic with posting the last year or so – deadlines and this particular stage of our family’s life have made it more difficult to find the time – I am still just as carried away with this particular medium as I can be. I used to tell people that I loved blogging because it gave me a place to put all my crazy, and that’s true. But the biggest reason I still love blogging is because y’all have created the kindest, most supportive environment in this little corner of the internet. Melanie and I say all the time that we have the very best readers, and ten years into this thing, I’m more convinced of it than ever.

So thanks for that. Thanks for being so awesome over the last ten years.

And Lord willing, here’s to ten more.

(Provided that blogs don’t become obsolete in the next ten years, of course.)

(But if they do, I’ll meet y’all on whatever the big new social media platform happens to be.)

(Fingers crossed that the new social media platform doesn’t require me to embed some sort of memory chip in my head.)

(I feel like this is a reasonable request.)

Love y’all!

Chronicles Of The Delightfully Mundane

Well.

Hi.

It’s been a lively couple of weeks around here.

I’ll just jump right in and play catch-up.

Last Tuesday night Alex’s team played their final game of the season (it was an AMAZING game, I have to say, and so fun to watch), and then Wednesday was the CMAs – which means that I saw the Justin Timberlake / Chris Stapleton duet for the first time and felt morally obligated to watch it at least 38 more times within the next 24 hours. SWEET MERCY it resonated with me on a lot of levels. I posted my initial thoughts about it on Instagram, and I’ll be doggone if I haven’t continued to give it a whole lot of thought. It laid me out – and it’s for sure the best performance I’ve seen this year. Have mercy.


They were magical together. And I’ve watched the 2:00-3:00 segment of that second video so many times that I’m surprised YouTube hasn’t sent me a complaint letter.

Thursday night I spoke to a homeschooling group at my church, and since several dear friends are part of that group, it only made sense for us to go to supper beforehand. Friday turned out to be about five days rolled into one, but I had big plans to write when I got home Friday afternoon. However, after I dropped off the young’un for a camping trip and ate some supper with David, I started listening to our high school’s football game via the internet and pretty much stayed that course until it was over (we won, by the way). Saturday I did manage to outline my next chapter, but it took me just about all day because FOOTBALL, OH WHAT A DAY FOR FOOTBALL. The Arkansas / Ole Miss game alone was SOMETHING ELSE AGAIN, and I really think it took me a couple of hours to wind down after it was over.

Also, I should probably apologize that this post is super boring, but I figure I might as well document what’s been going on for our little family if nothing else. I realize that those of you who were reading are probably asleep by now, so I’ll do my best to stay quiet as I wrap this thing up.

Anyway, Alex got home early Sunday afternoon, and he barely had time to unpack and change clothes before we headed to his football party. We had a great time hanging out with his teammates and their families, and afterwards we stopped at Bojangles to pick up some supper. (I mean, at this point, why not include the most minute details? Why not mention that Alex ordered a CheddarBo? Why not include the fact that it took forever to get our food, and when David finally went inside to check on our order – they’d asked us to pull up and wait after we went through the drive-thru – the girl at the register shook her head, sighed, and said, “THEY DIDN’T DROP YOUR FRIES,” which has now become our favorite expression?)

So, by the time we finally got home, I didn’t do a lick of writing.

How could I possibly write anything after so much excitement at the Bojangles?

This week has been more of the same. I met a friend late Monday afternoon, picked up supper on the way home, and did my level best to stay up until 8:30 that night. Last night we went to see our school’s other 6th grade football team in their semi-final play-off game, and I was sort of blown away by the level of competition. The game went into overtime, and our boys won after they tackled a receiver about a foot away from the goal line after a 4th down pass. Today we didn’t have school because of Veterans’ Day, so I joined the rest of Birmingham in running errands and fighting traffic but really having the best afternoon with my boy. Plus, I finally returned some stuff that’s been riding around in the trunk of my car for the last month, and it was the best feeling to cross those things off my list.

Tomorrow we go back to work / school, and then Friday I head to Columbus, MS to speak at First Baptist Church. Here’s the info if you’re nearby and so inclined.

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And since Columbus is only 20 minutes away from Starkville – well, you can probably guess where I’ll be on Saturday.

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A few months ago I told myself that I was going to stay far away from this game. I told myself that this particular Saturday would be a perfect time to write all day long, to make some serious progress on a chapter, to ignore anything related to the SEC or the Mississippi State Bulldogs and be proactive and productive.

But oh, I do long for redemption. Remember last year’s State / Alabama game? It was a bit of a low point. So this year Sister and I are going to meet at Davis-Wade instead of Bryant-Denny, and Lord willing I will not require any sort of orthopedic boot during the festivities. This is a big game for the Bulldogs, and when it comes to the Bulldogs and big games, well, MOTH TO FLAME.

And at some point, Lord willing, I’ll get some book writing done. If any of y’all happen to have an idea about how I can make the calendar stop for a few days, I would welcome your suggestions.

Happy Veteran’s Day, everybody!

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 55

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Y’all, I don’t even know.

This is a whole conversation about Melanie going to look at a tunic and then deciding to focus on foundational garments – all of which leads, quite frankly, to a LOT of talk about underwear.

We also have some thoughts about football and skincare. And then we talked a lot about my eyelashes because what could possibly be more riveting than that.

Also, I think that Melanie may have a career as a Revitalash consultant, so we may need to break down that particular topic at a later point in time.

Hope y’all enjoy it!

You can click here to listen. Or here. You can even listen right here on the blog.

Or, as always, you can subscribe on iTunes if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

Just FYI – here’s where you can get more info on the products / places we mention (these aren’t affiliate links – just regular ole links):

We the Free Marigold tunic

“Les Miles Explains What Happened on Halloween” (there’s a little profanity) (just FYI)

Foundational Garment #1

Natori Shangri-La Jersey Tunic Pajamas (As a person who sleeps in t-shirts and pajama bottoms from TJMaxx, I recognize the extravagance of these pajamas. I’m just sayin’.)

Foundational Garment #2

Foundational Garment #3

Lancome Le Stylo Waterproof Eyeliner

Revitalash Advanced Serum (this is a smaller size than what we mentioned)

How I Know I’m Here

I’m at Mama and Daddy’s house for a couple of days, and since I left Birmingham pretty early this morning, I am just as tickled as I can be that it’s almost time for bed. In fact, I was just thinking about how delightful it would be if I were sound asleep by 9, but I’m going to stay awake a little longer and maybe work on some writing.

And when I say “writing,” what I really mean is “watch House Hunters.”

I know I need to be productive, but words and sentences and chapters feel like a big commitment right now.

Anyway.

After supper tonight I was putting a few things in the dishwasher when something that will forever and always remind me of Mama and Daddy’s house caught my eye for about the fourth time today.

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An open, well-loved cookbook – with notes.

In case you can’t see it, this note says that Mama made Italian Cream Cake five times in square pans for Family Night Supper. AS YOU DO.

But really, isn’t it funny how just one little thing can immediately let us know that we are in the presence of our people?

Here’s another one.

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I don’t think we even have a phonebook at our house in Birmingham, but at Mama and Daddy’s the phonebook is always visible and almost always folded back. Even the sound of someone turning phone book pages reminds me of my parents’ house.

So does a decorated laundry room.

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You know what my laundry room looks like?

It looks like the place where organizational embarrassment went to die.

Clearly I have betrayed my strong laundry room heritage.

And then there’s the sight of stuff taped inside the kitchen cabinets.

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If I have ever taped anything inside my own kitchen cabinets, I don’t remember it. But Mama? She loves a kitchen cabinet reminder. And she likes to make sure that reminder stays there by GOING TO TOWN with the Scotch tape.

Not even Scotch tape can top Mama’s love for this next thing, though.

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Stunt pillows. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you spend the night with anyone in my family, you’re gonna work to turn back a bed. You may even break a sweat (not with the bed in this picture, necessarily, but I would consider it an introductory level stunt pillow situation). Maybe it’s a family thing, or maybe it’s a Southern thing, or maybe it’s just a crazy thing, but we believe in pillow shams, we believe in throw pillows, we believe in neck rolls, and heaven knows we believe in pillow formations.

Exclamation point. And amen.

Have a great weekend, everybody!