Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Want to know how my Christmas was? Okeydoke. Here are allllll the details of my Christmas, from A-Z!

A - I was glad to see my cousin Angie and her husband Jason. Here is a picture of all five of us:
B - Beyoncé! I am OBSESSED with the I Am... Yours concert set I got for Christmas. I took back the DVD version and swapped it for the one with both the CDs and DVD of the concert. Y'all - hands down, the best $19.99 my mom ever spent. And as if that isn't enough, I found out over Christmas that my aunt graduated from high school with Matthew Knowles, Beyoncé's father! What a small world. That practically makes us cousins, doesn't it?
C - There was no C this Christmas! He was in VA with his family. I missed him terribly. Boo.
D - I think this was the Christmas of DVDs. I already told you which one I got - Beyoncé, in case you forgot! - but also swapping hands in front of me this Christmas: the Proposal, Star Trek, GI Joe, Julie & Julia, the Holiday, and some cute little Walgreens Good Times photo DVDs my mom made for me and my sister.
E - My mom got me some pretty new earrings from Anthropologie! They are pave pearl posts. I'm wearing them right now, Mom.
F - One of my favorite things about home is my mom's gas log fireplace. If we are at home, that thing is on and one (or more) of us is parked in front of it.... which is funny, because when I lived with her post-graduation, it was a real source of contention and arguments. But now we all love the gas fireplace. It's just money, Mom!
G - On Christmas day, we drove to Greenville to visit my mom's mom and our great friends the Arnolds. It wouldn't be Christmas without a trip to Butler County.
H - I got to visit Anne Heaton, my 9-year-old cousin. I love getting to see her. She is so cute and so much fun.I - I just love Christmas! Wahoo!
J - Here is our annual picture in our jammies:
K - Wednesday, rather than drive to an empty house, I drove straight to adorable Katelyn (and her mommy and daddy). Kathryn whipped up a delicious dinner, we all played dominoes, drank wine and I got to spend lots of time with Precious McCheeks, who refused to go to sleep because she knew her Fun Aunt Lindsay was there - which meant I got to hold her tons!
M - I was so glad to get to see my MawMaw. Here is a photo of all of us at her assisted living home, with MawMaw modeling the Snuggie my sister gave to her:
P - I watched The Proposal with my mom on Saturday night. It was entertaining... not awesome, but not horrible.
S - Somehow, soup has become our Christmas Eve tradition. Ever since my grandmom died and our traditions changed, I have eaten soup on Christmas Eve. Can I be frank? I hate it. Not the soup itself: don't get me wrong, it's delicious soup (especially my aunt's amazing chili) but still - two kinds of soup in one day is too much soup. Especially for Christmas. It just reminds me of that first Christmas without Granny. No more back-to-back soup for the holidays. Next year, I volunteer to cook.... hahaha!
U- We went to see Up in the Air on Christmas night. It was so good!
W - My sister and brother-in-law got me two great gifts: a Wicked pop-up book and a fondue pot for the next time I make cheese or chocolate fondue. What great, creative gifts! Thanks, family!
X -Since I had time to kill on the way home on Wednesday, I finally stopped at Smith's Farms on Exit 308. I drive by their big billboard all the time on my way south, but since I am usually in a hurry, I never stop, no matter how tempting that giant cheese wheel is. This time I stopped, my mouth watering at the idea of free samples... but it wasn't that great. The samples were tiny.
Y - I finally made my Yogurt Mountain debut and wow. I may or may not have gotten carried away:Z - It was great to get to catch some zzzz's while at home. Catching up on sleep is one of my favorite things about time off.

Yay! The end.

Okay, okay... I tried to do every letter but I ran out of things to talk about. Did you even notice that a few letters were gone? Probably not. And if you did, oh well.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Last night, we did some present opening with T1 and T2. Since I'm taking all of them to the airport in about two hours, I wanted to give them their presents and C had some for them to open also (the rest got shipped got loaded into Santa's sleigh).
T1's reaction to his train set? "Oh SNAP!" while T2 immediately took to coloring Santa with the "pink" chalk. Both the easel and train set are from Ikea, FYI.

After dinner, we put on our pajamas, opened up some presents together, and then afterward, C and I opened up our presents to each other. I am so sad we won't be together on Christmas. I said last year it wasn't happening again, but THIS year I REALLY mean it!

Another cars shirt!

Pretty crown, funny face

Remember the birdhouse I told you about? Guess who LOVED it?

Servingware!!! Ignore my hair.

Guess who got a Blu-ray player?

The jacket goes really well with the pajama bottoms, no?

Lookythere! If you're keeping track, that makes TWO snuggies that I now own. One for home and one for work, just the like I always dreamed. Also, new sunglasses!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Over the weekend, we went to two very different kinds of parties. The first one was Friday night and was a tacky pub crawl. Only, when we got there, we were the only tacky ones. Luckily, more heinous sweaters showed up later in the night.

Chris's pants don't really translate well in these photos but those bad boys were tight. Niiiice and snug. My sweatshirt was my own work of art, and in a moment of genious, I even outfitted my Crocs for the occasion. I made C a little rose boutonniere out of the sweatshirt band I'd cut off my own garment. It was the perfect finishing touch. We had fun "crawling" and visiting with friends.

Saturday, we loaded up the car and headed south for 24 hours in Alabama. First stop, Taziki's of course, where we had lunch with my mom, sister and brother-in-law, who were fortunate enough to have booked a plane on Friday night and avoided the snow and airport drama.

That night, we headed to my friend Haley's wedding and reception. I met Haley when she pledged my sorority and I became her Big Sis (which she still calls me to this day). One thing Haley and I have in common, as you all have seen play out on this blog, is our mutual love of Friends. So we dubbed Saturday TOW Haley Got Married!

Haley was such a pretty bride and her reception was so much fun!! C and I were among the first on the dance floor. We had an absolute blast. It was great getting to get all dressed up (look at that bow tie!), introduce Chris to a few more of my friends, and see such a sweet couple tie the knot. Haley was a dear friend in college, after college, and hopefully for life! I mean after all, we are "sisters." Love you, sweet girl, and congratulations again.

Sunday morning, C was charged with the task of making breakfast for my family, since I had been bragging about his french toast skills and since my mom had threatened to make biscuits from a can . I "helped" him and together, we served up french toast with bacon and cheesy eggs. Yum! We hung out for a bit before it was time to head back to Tennessee, and this time I'm proud to report I wore jeans and had no car trouble.

Sunday night after my event, we watched Inglourious Basterds. Ummmmm wow. I have never been so fascinated and absorbed by a movie that made me so disgusted. I also have never had a physical reaction to violence in a movie, but there were several parts that my stomach was churning. Not to mention I was looking away, covering my ears, etc. I thought it was really clever and a good movie (Brad Pitt is awesome), but at the same time, I was so grossed out and really disturbed! I cried when it was over - I had to release all of that emotion. It was two and a half hours of just extreme, pent-up discomfort.... which is what QT meant to accomplish, so good on him. My verdict? Rent it but be ready to cover your eyes.

So, all in all a great weekend! Parties and weddings and movies, oh my!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Yesterday, Evan invited Kate and me over for dinner. He cooked us a lovely meal: apple-stuffed chicken breast, wild rice, bacon-wrapped asparagus and Oreo truffles. It was a great way for old friends get together before we all go separate ways for Christmas.

Evan asked us to be there at 6:15 pm. When I showed up, he had just finished sautéing the asparagus and wrapping it in bacon, and the chicken was stuffed and ready to be put in the oven. Our job was to coat the Oreo truffles with melted chocolate and put them in the freezer while Evan finished dinner. Can do!
After we’d finished that task, I decided Oreo fingers were just as good as Oreo truffles and helped myself to one or two.

It was a little smoky in the kitchen from the stovetop cooking that had been going on, so we opened the back door up. But the smoke didn’t seem to be letting up and we couldn’t figure out why. Then Evan saw flames in the oven, and we figured THAT was why.
Everything turned out BEAUTIFULLY and even more, incredibly delicious! Evan has a great talent for whipping up recipes he’s never tried… even after they catch on fire, everything turns out just fine!
It was delicious. I love my sweet friends!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Last night was our Bunko. Here's something creepy - I talked to my mom on the phone en route to Bunko and guess where she was headed? HER BUNKO. Like mother, like daughter.

Anyway, the theme was pajamas and Brittany made breakfast for us. It was unfortunate that the sausage balls were horrible. That explains why I ate about 20 of them, so Brittany wouldn't feel bad... riiiiight. After all the rounds, I was one win away from being tied for most wins (drat!), but I did win the prize for most On the Towns and guess what it was??? Even better than the jackpot, it was...

A SNUGGIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you know me and know that I am cold most of the time, then you can figure out why I am so, so excited about this. I've wanted a snuggie for so long but you can't go buy one to actually USE. You have to win it or buy it as a joke. It's pink, to boot - I brought it into work this morning and am wearing it right this minute!

And, as if that wasn't awesome enough, C told me he bought me one in blue. He could be joking, but I would happily have a backup snuggie. Why do you think they are buy one get one free when you order them from the television? Because if you have one snuggie, you probably need another one.

But back to bunko. Even though there were a lot of subs, we had fun and I am excited that it my turn to host next month. Can anyone guess what the theme will be?

Monday, December 14, 2009


Let the games begin: Christmas is in full swing, kids.

Thursday we took Thing One and Two to see the Nutcracker. Somehow, I have never seen it before so I was really excited! It’s such a fun story and I really enjoyed it. My favorite part was the Sugar Plum Fairy… what a diva!

Friday we went to a Christmas party at our friend Kevin’s house. Not Kevin McCallister, calm down. I wish. This is the third year I’ve been to this party and it was just as fun as the first year. The host is a former coworker, and so it’s always a reunion, which is usually a good time.

Saturday I braved Wal*Mart for some boxes and more ribbon, and wimped out before making it to the grocery section to buy supplies for our upcoming work open house party. Speaking of work, I worked Saturday night and then fell asleep on my couch watching Taylor Lautner kick @$$ - literally! – on SNL.

Sunday, after watching A Charlie Brown Christmas while catching up on my gift wrapping, I took some presents over to C’s house and recruited his two little elves to help me put them under the tree. Why we have to wait until Christmas to open the presents under the tree is a concept lost on little ones. After that, we sequestered ourselves to decorate/paint a birdhouse for them to give to their father for Christmas. It ended up looking really cute, but thanks to one too many liberal strokes of red paint, also a little bit like a murder scene. Or the passover, where they painted the blood over the door - take your pick. Oh well. I'm sure the birdies will still move in. They really, really wanted to “prise” him with it last night… but once again, why we wait until Christmas to open the presents under the tree drying in the bathroom so I can take it home and wrap it is a concept lost on little ones.

Afterward, we watched Julie and Julia, which has nothing to do with Christmas but was a movie I really wanted to see, so I ran home and got my Netflix copy. I really liked it and it made me want to learn to cook well… which today, makes me laugh. It also made me want to have my blog/life made into a movie and got me thinking about who I’d want cast as me. My answer: Rachel McAdams.

This is a very busy week. I have plans every night after work! Good thing most of my holiday shopping is done!


I have come up with two extra items for my Christmas list this year. Wouldn't you like me to share?
A new Duvet, particularly this one from West Elm that looks just like the one I already have. You see, I LOVE my comforter. LOVE it. But in the three and a half years since I bought it, I have pulled and stretched it into smithereens. There's basically 20lbs of down comforter at my neck, a big hole in the middle of it and all the slack is at the foot of the bed. It sounds weird, so I drew a sketch. You're gonna want to click-in for this one:
Obviously my down comforter is not red, but this way you can distinguish where the duvet and down comforter are, and how it is not working. I pull and pull and it all up to my neck, and that leaves hardly any down on my feet, way too much empty duvet at the foot of the bed, and a big open hole that apparently looks like a shark. The one from West Elm is cost-efficient, and since this is something I use every day of my life, I think I would get a lot of use from it. Any questions?
And this is small but handy: a sampling of mascara from Sephora. I like mascara, and this way you get to try ten different ones and find your favorite! Neat!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Earlier this year, when I started these birthday blog posts, I got the following e-mail (which I already posted once so don't say you do not get blog love, Mark):

"Look, I never get ANY love at all on your blog. Long time reader, helped you get this dream job, listened to your family issues from time to time, featured you on a poster around campus, even have a picture of you and me in my office, and who is the greatest male in the world? Wes Bonds. Or maybe Eric Dunlap. Neither of whom you would have met without CWE by the way, so you are welcome AGAIN. And I hate birthdays by the way. I take off from work so I don't have to be here for any stupid surprise party or anything. I always go to the dentist that day as long as it is during the week. I figure if I am going to be miserable getting older, just lump all the misery into one day."

So, lest I contribute to the misery, I have to recognize that today is Mark’s birthday. Happy birthday, Marky Mark! And sadly, this is the only picture I have of us because I was still using Kodak film when I worked for you. That is scary.
Speaking of scared, I was actually very scared of Mark before I met him. Maybe because what he had (power to make me a Camp War Eagle counselor), I wanted.

Since we all know the long story of how I didn’t make CWE the first time I tried out, I’ll go straight to the time I did make CWE counselor! Hooray! Right out of the gate, I realized I was going to really enjoy working for Mark. One of the first things we were trained on were Mark’s Pet Peeves:

• Being late
• Someone talking, laughing, whispering or other general rudeness while a speaker is talking
• Extraneous noise (crunching ice/clicking pens/popping notebooks/cell phones)
• Leaving trash in our room
• Being unprepared (don’t have notebook, failed test(s), don’t know Creed or other Auburn information, skit lines not written or memorized, etc.)
• Complaining without offering suggestions
• Inappropriate or unprofessional presentation
• Having an indifferent or lackadaisical attitude
• Ruffling books before we are through; we will dismiss you on time
• Being disrespectful to staff or fellow Camp Counselors either verbally or non-verbally
• Eating sandwiches for dinner. Sandwiches are for lunch. Period.
• Sitting on my tables. Chairs are for sitting.
(The sandwiches thing is new since 2004, by the way. We would have had some conflict over that one. Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwiches? Always good.)

Obviously the summer of 2004 was one of the best summers of my whole life and getting to know Mark was a huge reason why. He was such a good boss. One minute he’s firmly telling you to learn the creed or just go home (“Is the creed funny?”) Then, the next minute, he was laughing with us about something ridiculous someone did or said (“Asian…or whatever.”) As I found it to be, he is the type of boss for whom you gladly work your tail off because he deserves that kind of respect and work ethic.

At the end of the summer, we were evaluated on our summer-long performance. It was both my greatest fear and greatest hope that I would be evaluated by Mark. I was nervous beyond any normal amount of nervousness. Part of it was I had tried so hard to do a good job that summer, that if he told me I’d actually sucked at my job or let him down, I might have jumped out the window. The other part of the nerves were wounds re-opening from my first-ever job evaluation from the previous summer, when I learned I was a horrible, unfriendly and bitter person. When I explained to him why I was literally shaking in fear of what he was going to tell me, he laughed and said he was here to offer constructive criticism, not just criticism for the sake of it. And then we talked about why I was his favorite counselor ever and hiring me was the best decision he ever made!

After he wasn’t my boss anymore (through no choice of my own), Mark became my wisest friend. One of my favorite things about Mark is that he asks the best questions. He’s so intuitive and a very genuine listener.

And after I had to leave Auburn (once again, through no choice of my own) I often called or e-mailed Mark for random favors and questions, including the frequent “Can I give them your name as an employer reference?” I was so glad to hear through the grapevine that he and his delightful wife Sarah were having a daughter.

Mark’s tenth year as Director of Camp War Eagle came and went a few years ago. Melissa made him a scrapbook and asked all of his former counselors to contribute a letter to include. I will just copy and paste what I wrote, because it’s just as true as anything I can come up with today. Plus, there's only so many ways you can tell a person how great you think they are before it starts to get awkward.


Six NINE years ago when I was competing in Junior Miss, I was asked what type of impact of impact I'd like to have on society. I thought about that question and remembered my church's Christmas Eve service, where the pastor would light a candle, then turn and light the candles of the people standing next to him, who would follow suit until the whole church was full of light, all because of one candle.

When I think about your ten-year span as Director of Camp War Eagle, the exact memory comes to mind. I cannot image doing anything in the next 50 years that could match the impact you've made the last 10. Not only has your leadership inspired me and my fellow counselors, but your legacy and example will live on through the energy, care and compassion we learned how to show our campers and will be able to show our spouses, children and friends.

I am so excited that you're about to become a father, and will tell you again how extremely envious I am of your child. But I hope you know that to an extent, you're already a father to so many. Just as a father sets a legacy for his children, you have demonstrated Godly leadership and influenced ten years of counselors who will lead, guide and influence families of their own.

I'm sure you remember me sobbing in your office during my exit evaluation. I told you how scared I was of what you'd say. But I wasn't scared of being told I'd done anything wrong [editor's note: that's a lie]; I was scared I'd find out that I'd let you down. Those tears and these words are indicative of how much I respect you.

Thank you for doing what you do. I hope after reading the words in this collection of letters that you finally grasp how grateful we all are for you and your investment in our lives. I could write forever about how much you and Camp War Eagle mean to me (I even asked Melissa for a word count), but I think the best way to sum it up is with a quote. Ralph Waldo Emerson concludes one of his most famous quotes with the phrase "to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded."

Mark, my life was made easier because of your guidance, your advice, your example and your friendship. In the darkest hour of my 24 years, you made life easier with your words and concern. Additionally, my years at Auburn and my memories there - which shape my life daily - would not compare to what they would have been without your influence.

I'm sure one day we will lose touch and I will stop e-mailing you wanting stuff like creed cards, but I hope you know and keep this letter as a reminder that your impact will never be forgotten or your example abandoned. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Respectfully, gratefully and forever indebted,


Cheesy? Perhaps. True? 150%. Mark, I think you know by now that I think you're just the cat's pajamas. I think our journey went from boss to friend and now you hover somewhere in between friend and father figure. Even though you're not old enough to be my father... or are you? At least you're old enough to party, and that's all that really counts.

I know a lot of you reading this have a Mark memory... won't you share it with the rest of the class?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Yesterday, I did some scientific research at my desk. I know you think because I graduated with a Liberal Arts degree, I do not know a lot about science, but you are wrong.

Using deductive reasoning, I set out to discover which flavor of bite-sized Kit Kats was the best.

Truthfully, this test wasn't all that scientific because it was laced with bias. The dark chocolate had it wrapped up before I even started. I would eat a number 2 pencil, eraser and all, if it were coated in dark chocolate.

First up, sight. Exhibit A:
Here we have, from top to bottom, a regular milk chocolate Kit Kat, a white chocolate Kit Kat and a dark chocolate Kit Kat, straight out of the bowl of holiday candy on my coworker's desk. Whaddya know? The dark chocolate one looked the best.

Next up, taste. I sampled each one a few times, taking tiny bites and cleansing my palate in between each bite. The white chocolate was my least favorite - the white chocolate was too thick and chalky and it felt like it wouldn't leave my mouth. Milk chocolate was next, and WAIT FOR IT - dark chocolate won!

So, therefore, the dark chocolate bite-sized Kit Kats... and dark chocolate everything... wins!

Whew. Glad that's outta the way. That's enough science-talk for one year, don't you think?

Monday, December 07, 2009


Over the weekend, I really ramped up the Christmas preparedness. Things have been getting busier and busier around here, and when I thought about it, I realized that I have exactly three days before Christmas that I’m not working or traveling. Saturday and Sunday were two of them. And since I am a cautious shopper, it usually takes me a while to get the gifts all purchased, so I knew if I wanted to be able to enjoy the rest of the month and not work myself into a backbend over holiday-induced stress, I needed to get busy.

Here’s what I mean by cautious shopper. In my mind (and as of Sunday, my phone), I have a little list of who is getting what and how much I have budgeted for them. Sunday, while browsing a few stores, I wrote down TEN different things I thought C would like for Christmas. I know. TEN. But since I'm no Donald Trump, that list had to get whittled. And that's my hardest part. Choosing/narrowing down and then pulling the trigger on what I want to get people. I have been like this for years. I always fret they won’t like it or I’ll find it cheaper or better or come up with something more dazzling and exciting and just file away that idea away in case everything else doesn’t pan out. That’s for certain people. Then I have other people, like my mother, for whom I cannot think of ANYTHING to purchase for Christmas and would love to have just ONE good idea let alone ten. So I always brainstorm and then run around and buy everything after I’ve thought it through way too much. But, in a rare move for me, I bought all of C’s Christmas gifts yesterday, on what was supposed to be brainstorming/browsing day. So technically, I’m ahead of myself! Yay!

But actually, the real festivities kicked off on Saturday, when I went to the mailbox and found my free holiday return address labels from St. Jude. Hooray! These will be very useful to a man by my same name. Yes, if anyone knows anyone that would like some Mr. LJ return address labels, let me know. Later that night, C let me join him, T1 and T2 in putting up the Christmas tree. We started How the Grinch Stole Christmas while C strung lights and then got all the ornaments hung up. There were only two ornament casualties, which I thought was not bad for four tiny hands. We bought an ornament in Vegas this summer, so I was happy to finally get to hang that one. The finished result is really pretty, as are all lovingly-decorated Christmas trees, and I can’t wait to put the aforementioned presents underneath it.

Here’s what else is coming down the pike before the 24th:

A party this Friday
My remaining free day before Christmas
Bunko next Tuesday – pajama-themed, genius!
Work parties and T1 and 2’s school program
Another party
Home for a wedding!
This point in the list is where I’d list “Rockettes show!” but I couldn’t find anyone to go with me. Oh well, maybe next year.

Happy holidays!

Friday, December 04, 2009


1. Here’s the story on my pink pajama pants with extreme sentimental value. Four years ago Monday, my grandmother died of a brain aneurism. Side note: do not wish for your bitterly-divorcing parents to have to be in the same room prior to your college graduation because you just might get what you wished for. So Granny had gone Christmas shopping for my cousin, sister and me earlier that week and for the first time EVER, picked out three of the same items but in different styles and colors for us. For more than twenty years, she got us all very different things that matched our interests and personalities. But eerily, she didn’t that year. And when she passed away, there were three stacks of gifts, one for each of us grandgirls, waiting to be wrapped on her guest bed. At some point, my aunt wrapped all the items for us, and on Christmas Eve, the night we’d always celebrated Christmas with that side of my family, we each tearfully unwrapped the gifts that she’d picked out for us but never got to see us open. One of the things we each got was a pair of pajamas. So that is why I love, love, love those pink, polka-dotted pajamas and will never ever part with them.

2. I have been downloading Christmas music like a fiend this week. I LOVE finding new awesome Christmas songs, particularly covers of the classics I already know and love. Here's what I found and recommend:
*Hark! the Hearld Angels Sing - Carrie Underwood
*All I Want for Christmas Is You - Whitney Duncan
*Last Christmas - Glee Cast
*Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy - Anthony Rapp & Everett Bradley
*Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Tyler Hilton

3. I watched Beyoncé’s I Am…Yours that I had DVRed over Thanksgiving and WOW. She is AMAZING. I want to be her. Like, I want to crawl in her body and BE her. I am really hoping Santa brings me the DVD/CD combo of the entire concert so I can watch it over and over again. And I forgot how amazing the song “Crazy in Love” is. Listen to it and remind yourself.

4. Remember all the Ugg drama earlier this year? I think we’re about to have more of it. In a nutshell, the warranty on these puppies expires Jan. 2 and they need fixing. The seam on the left toe is messed up. I am about to have to ship them off in the coldest month of the year! I’m so sad. Why didn’t I do this sooner?! Can y’all handle more Ugg drama or would you stop reading altogether?

5. Go Gators!

Thursday, December 03, 2009


So, as you saw on Monday, I blew a flat on Sunday en route to Nashville. To my mom’s horror/delight, I happened to have worn my pink pajama pants* to drive home. Some people have driving gloves or driving shoes – I have driving pants. So I’m 20 minutes outside of Nashville, soooo ready to get home and see my Turkey when I hear a thudthudthudthudthud noise. I was in the far left lane so after a moment of panic and remembering I need to pull to the outside shoulder, I scoot across traffic without causing a wreck, stop the car and get out to survey the damage... still in my pajama pants. As I’m putting the car in park, I see my hubcap or tireplate or whatever it’s called roll off into the grassy abyss. Nice.

Now let me remind you that I have had my car for a year and had no idea that the tires on this 2004 Camry were the ORIGINAL TIRES to it (at least that's what the repair shop I went to on Monday guessed). I asked the guy who sold me the car (sight unseen) about the condition of the tires, and he said I would need new ones soon. Having just written him a five-figure check for this vehicle, I figured tires could wait and filed that in the back of my mind.

So there I was Sunday, on the side of the road, wearing my CWE sweatshirt, pajama pants and Uggs. I walked around to the front right where I saw my tire, collapsed in a puddle of rubber around the rim. I call Chris. After he walks me through checking to make sure I have a spare and proper tools stowed in my trunk, I tell him I've seen this done before and I think I can do this myself. But I’m also a little scared, so he offers to leave the comfortable, cozy warmth of his house and meet his unshowered, pajama-clad girlfriend nearly 30 minutes away. What a prince. I tell him I'll start the process and see how far I get.

First things first. I get my suitcase, pull my jeans out, climb in the passenger seat and change clothes. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW MOM????

Next, I go the trunk and start pulling everything out. At this point, it occurs to me how incredibly grateful I am that it’s daylight at that moment. And not raining. My tire may be bald and flat but it's kind. Because had this tire or any of the other three decided to blow, oh I don’t know, a month ago at 1 am outside of Knoxville on my way home from Charlotte, Evan would have surely met the business end of my lug wrench. But that’s another story. So I pull all the equipment out, including a folded up picnic blanket my sister gave me (thanks!) to serve as an impromptu kneepad/cushion. If I’m going to do this, it’s not going to be at the expense of my knees.

Just to be safe, I get out the car’s manual to see if they have any advice for me. I find the notches under the car where the jack is supposed to connect and make sure it’s in place. Next up, loosen the lug nuts. That’s where I got stuck. I was trying to arm it. Turns out, as I soon learned, you have to use your legs and kick those suckers loose. So, all of my attempts to change this tire myself stop there.

I go grab my phone out of the car and see that Chris has called. His brother had called him as he was about to leave his house, and being halfway between the house and where I was, he offered to save C the trip and meet me. Awesome. Whichever brother could get there faster is the one I wanted to see.

While I’m waiting for M to show up, a carload of women stop. They explain they can’t change the tire but want to make sure I’m okay. “Don’t nobody stop for nobody anymore!” I realized they had a good point, as I had been on the side of the road on one of the busiest travel days for a good 30 minutes and no one had stopped.

Eventually, M finds me. The only problem was that five minutes before M found me, so did a man named Eric (who actually looked a lot like M), who was insistent that he get started on the tire even though I explained help had just passed me going south, and was turning around to meet me on the northbound side of the road. I felt so bad that M was coming all that way to find someone already hard at work on my car. But I was relieved to see a familiar face, so I was still super glad he came all that way.

The two men bonded immediately over the horrible condition of my tires. They pointed out the lack of tread, and just to be sure I understood his point, M walked me to his car to take a peek at his perfect tires and their perfect tread. SUE ME. I DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO MY TIRES, OKAY? I spent the past five years of my life dealing with engine trouble, so no wonder I was so worried making sure this car wasn’t going to behave similarly that I completely forgot to give a d*** about the tires. Which in hindsight is kind of surprising, because as anyone that has ridden in a car with me in the rain knows, hydroplaning is my second greatest fear (right behind sharks). And considering the condition of these tires, I’m really surprised that I haven’t hydroplaned myself into the hospital by now.

Anyway, M and Eric get the new tire all set up, and help me put the old tire back in the trunk. M also almost met the business end of my lug wrench after making a dig about the Auburn-Alabama game. Epson salt on an open wound! I couldn’t get to C fast enough. Neither could M, who called him to reiterate that I needed new tires pronto.

So guess what we did on Monday? I spent some time on the phone and internet (and g-chat) price-shopping tires. The shop said the others had exposed steel and it was a matter of time before they went flat as well. So, I am now the proud new owner of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen - four new beautiful Firestone FR380 tires. These S-Speed rated tires feature a tread design that channels water away for wet performance. The tread’s biting edges also provide excellent traction in wet and snow conditions. Best of all, the FR380 is popularly priced to make it a top value choice for many popular vehicles! (Firestone, I’ll expect your check in the mail soon). With the tires comes free rotation, and since the alignment on the car was so off, I had them fix that as well as paid a little extra for lifetime alignment. So, if you can’t find me, check at Firestone because I’ll be dropping the car off once a week to get the tires rotated and my alignment fixed. In other words, I am getting my money’s worth from this expenditure if it kills me.

*Those pajama pants aren't just any pajama pants - they have extreme sentimental value. I will never throw them away. I may never drive in them again, however...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Okay - I have a confession.

I have not seen A Christmas Story.

I repeat

I have not seen A Christmas Story.

Keep in mind I was a ripe, mature five months old when the movie came out. My generation didn’t need Ralph Parker. We had Kevin McCallister. A Christmas Story = the Home Alone of the Generation X, the group right above me. For me, Home Alone will always be the best Christmas movie ever (as well as the best movie ever, but that’s another post).

So as I crept into my twenties, I knew I needed to see this film but never got around to it. Last year, during C’s and my first Christmas season together, he almost dumped me on the sheer fact that I had never seen A Christmas Story… or It’s a Wonderful Life. We fixed one of those problems, but one still remained.

Fast forward another year. Ralph and I have still not met. This topic comes up at a party we recently attended and I got teased mercilessly. Keep in mind all of these people who were riding my crawl were Gen Xers. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. “Stop telling people I have not seen that movie,” I told C on the way home. “It’s like saying I hate puppies and sunshine.” Immediately I added it to my Netflix queue so I could rejoin society.

I brought it home with me for Thanksgiving, where to my utter surprise, I discovered my sister had not seen it either (side note: I’ve since found another person my age that has not seen it; we’re going to start a club). But as you already read, we were way too busy watching good movies (and bad ones) this Thanksgiving to make time for Ralph, so until last night, I had never seen the film.

Well I guess technically I still haven’t seen the film, but last night I made one small step for man. Chris, his brother, sister-in-law and I went to see a local theater company perform the stage version of the classic tale. It was hilarious. The man playing Ralph was so funny and the little brother was a hoot. It made me want to rush home and watch the movie, which I did… but I fell asleep at the part where the lamp gets broken.

So, there you have it America. The good news? I’ve seen A Christmas Story. The bad news? I still like Home Alone better. Case closed.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Y'all are going to have to help me out with something. I have seen a lot of really dumb trends and fashion in my day. But this takes the cake.

While walking around on campus Saturday, I saw both Alabama girls and Auburn girls sporting hairbows that were meant ONLY for little girls. I'm talking multiple ribbon colors with a little doodad in the middle. I believe that if you're old enough to drive, you have long-since passed the normal age to be clipping bows into your hair. Now cheerleading bows are another story. Those are more in the ribbon family and I wore one in my hair every time I donned the navy and gold. The bows to which I am referring are straight up, french-clip, handmade, hot-glue-gunned hairbows. I eventually decided I had to document this phenomenon (and that I wanted some Chick-Fil-A):
At least hers is on the back of her head, where she can forget how stupid she looks. And in case you don't believe me that she's too old to wear a hairbow - she paid with her Tiger Card. Case closed. The Bama girl - whose, by the way, was houndstooth OF COURSE - I saw had hers perched right atop her head.

Who should we blame for this? Are they doing this on the Gossip Girl or something? Obviously, since the offending party included both Bama and Auburn fans, this is an equal-opportunity crime that needs to be wiped out completely.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Here’s a little Thanksgiving pictorial/blow-by-blow for you. More to come later this week, but for now...

Wednesday – woke up ill. Waited 1.5 hours at the Take Care clinic, located in the nearby Walgreens. Left angry and hungry before I was ever seen. I think the guy in front of me was getting a full-body exam because he was in there for an HOUR. Ridiculous. Took a nice long lunch with C before taking him to the airport. Came home, watched Glee and packed.
Thursday – slept in, drove home. Had a quick dinner with Mom + 1. Waited for Jennie and Jamie to get home. Watched football/Home Alone marathon on TBS. Went to Wal-mart for cake mix to make this Auburn cake!
Friday – woke up early. Headed to Auburn. Watched Home Alone 2 on the way! Realized Pigeon Lady from Central Park = Susan Boyle. Went to Tiger Walk. Tailgated. Cheered myself hoarse at the game. Declared it a moral victory.

Saturday – lunch with Kathryn and Katelyn. Shopped with mom and sister. Went to visit my aunt, uncle and delightful cousin. Leftovers with the family. Paid $12.25 for a headache.
Sunday – slept in. Packed up. Drove home in my pajamas. Almost called the cops on some reckless drivers. Got 20 minutes outside of Nashville and had to pull over. Almost changed it myself... almost. Saw a play with C and then went to dinner. Great end to a long day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


More Friends!
Iron Bowl!
Home Alone!

These are a few of my favorite things... and lucky for me, they are all coming down the line this week! Not one of my favorite things? Taking C to the airport on the eve of a major holiday. Oh well.

If you'll be in Birmingham or Auburn, I hope you'll let me know!

Friday, November 20, 2009


I used the last of my tissues the other day, leaving me with an empty Kleenex box. Hmmm. What is one to do with an empty tissue box? Here's a hint:
I’m pretty sure they had to custom make those Kleenex box shoes for Kevin because mine were a little snug.And the red mark you see on my ankle is a nick from when I cut myself shaving... because the day before, when I put my Kleenex shoe on the first time, I had not shaved in quite a while, and well... let's just say that got more laughter from the recipient than my "shoe" did.

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