Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Choices One Makes: Giving Up for Lent

This morning I made a public declaration that I am giving up soda for Lent. Tonight, as I closed my eyes I can feel the pain bubbling behind my forehead, a lack of caffeine headache. 


Searching for Advil in the dark to satiate my throbbing headache when I accidentally kicked the wooden block that holds up the foot of the bed. I'm yelling curse words, the likes have never been heard before when J2 rolls over and opens his eyes. Illuminated by the flashlight of my cellphone J2 sees me make a split minute decision between cradling my poor baby toe or issuing immediate retaliation to the bed for making me stub my toe. I hunch over in a crippled, old lady sort of way and scream at the bed as I punch the mattress, the way a badly trained girl would throw a baseball. 


J2 laughs hysterically at my action and reaction. I'm crying in pain he's nearly crying from laughing. 


By this point my toe is bleeding like a geyser and throbbing in horrific pain, like the devil himself is milking my pinky toe.  


J2 asks to look at my toe because he has First Aid training. 


He flicks it a couple of times. I'm sure he was nicer than that, but I'm crying and it hurts so badly. 


He starts to tell me something, but I stop him. I can't handle blood and injury. He says, "You want my medical opinion?"


"No. No. No. Don't tell me!"


He ignores my pleas, "It's kind of crumpled."


"My toe is crumpled!?!" I begin laughing as I'm crying. 


He thinks it's broken, "You'll be living with a slightly crumpled toe the rest of your life." 


On the bright side he made a baggie of ice for this old, crumpled toe of mine. And, at least it's not cockeyed. Right? 


Perhaps I should have given up cursing for Lent. After all, if I had my caffeine I would be peacefully sleeping, not searching the blackness of the bedroom for my Advil bottle. 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

That's Some Kind of Classwork

This cannot even be real! It's unfathomable to me. 


My 1992, pre-pubescent self is so upset, stomping around, and screaming, "This isn't fair!"


Phaedra gets to watch Newsies in her eighth grade history class. That's some kind of class work! 


Did you hear me??? Newsies!!! Christian Bale! David Moscow! Gabriel Damon!! Newsies!!!!!!! Newsies!!!! <possessed 13 year old girl who has taken a whiff of testosterone for the first time demon inside of me voice> Newsies!!!!! 


<back to normal voice> Oops, sorry. 


Disney! Dancing! Singing! Hotties from the 1990's! Newsies!!! Too numerous slumber parties spent watching Newsies!!! 


Phaedra's not even grateful! She has no clue! And!!! To top it all off, Phaedra hates 'singing movies.'


Needless to say, I'll be attending her second class period tomorrow, swooning, dancing, and singing along, "Open the gates and seize the day..."


I am also sending her to school with a note, on personalized stationary, asking the teacher if we can borrow the tape, errr DVD for encore performances. Well, I suppose I should phrase it as added homework assignments. 


Do not call me tomorrow after five pm. Something just came up! I'm busy! Newsies!!!! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Good People of Memphis

am hurriedly shopping at the half-price Goodwill on Highland. It is nearly closing time, precisely fifteen minutes until 6pm and the employees are encouraging customers to make their final selections. 

I am digging through the dresses when a lady walks up my aisle from the back of the store. Both of her arms are loaded with donated stuffed animals of every size, color and animal imaginable. 

Instantly, I make a judgement about how disgusting used stuffed animals are and the possible amount of infectious germs covering and residing in the fur that cannot be washed away. Those sad, used, and forgotten animals always give me the willies in thrift stores. 

Once the lady passes me she heads to the register and I forget about her. My attention is drawn back into the dresses. 

My ears perk up when I overhear the Goodwill employee behind the counter ask, "What are your plans with all of these stuffed animals?"

The lady, whose hands are now free, wrings them in the bottom of her number 32 Steelers jersey. She is quiet for a moment, takes a step back, swallows and manages to say, "My daughter died on Sunday."

The air in the store instantly becomes still. The three Goodwill employees behind the counter gasp.

"She was 36 and had congestive heart failure. She has a 20 year old son and a sixteen year old. We are going to put these on her grave."

As a collective two of the three Goodwill employees move around the counter. One of them says, "Oh Baby, that's tough. Let me give you a hug. You need a hug." 

The women hold on to each other letting the mother cry. Her shoulders begin to shake and they are holding the mother up, patting her on the back and whispering in inaudible tones of consolation.

One of the Goodwill women grab the husband of the mother. He is wearing a matching Steelers jersey, "You need a hug too." 

They pull him into the hug. 

I am so moved by the beauty and genuine sincerity of these strangers in this scene in the Goodwill that tears are rolling down my face. 

There are good people in Memphis, I am a witness to that. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

J2 and I celebrated our third St. Valentine's Day together. 

The girls were given Starbucks gift cards and Valentine's socks. Phaedra immediately put a pair of her socks on and ripped a hole in them. Whomp-whomp! Maverick received a Starbucks gift card and an entire container of hot chocolate mix. He has been mixing and guzzling chocolate milk all evening. 

I hid a small movie gift card in J2's iPad. All day long I waited not-so-patiently for him to acknowledge that he found it. I kept imagining him slinging his iPad across the room and the gift card disappearing in a secret location with the rest of the unmatched socks. Finally, he texted and I was relieved.

I got all dolled up. 

J2 and I went out to dinner, without reservations, to a little, local Italian joint in Bartlett called Bruno's Italian Restaurant. As always it was fantastic!

When I walked in the door I was treated with salutations and large smiles. The staff always seems spectacularly pleased that you chose Bruno's for your dining experience. Since we did not make a reservation, the hostess said there would be a 20 minute wait. Not even five minutes later we were at a table with drinks and menus in our hands. 

I am serious when I say everything I have had a Bruno's is spectacular. Spinach and artichoke, bruschetta, fried ravioli, meatballs, Italian sausage, marinara sauce, stuffed chicken breast; all of it is mouth watering. 

Last night, since I saved all of my calories for the day, I ordered the Steak and Alfredo. My steak was perfectly rare and bursting with flavor. The Alfredo sauce is creamy, savory, and simply scrape-your-plate delicious. Thinking about it now is making me salivate.

Their portions are generous, very generous. I had enough pasta to cover the entire face of my plate. So, I brought half of it home. 

At Bruno's, their service is always remarkable. Their servers are always delightful and adorable. They are kind and their suggestions and recommendations are spot-on! Kenya, our server last night was superb. She was prompt, courteous, and simply delightful! 
  
Their prices are reasonable, around $8 to $25 an entree. The food and atmosphere  are worth it! The Little Rottens love going their too! 

I am extremely picky about my Italian food. I look forward to dining there. Bruno's holds the bar in Memphis for Italian food. 

As for my Valentine's gift, it is perfection!  


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

He Is Living My Bucket List



My brother is a real jerk! I'm stuck in the dark, icy, cold basement pushing and shuffling papers around my desk and in serious danger of contracting the office sickness going around or worse, paper cuts.




You know what this jerk does? He texts me a photograph of himself on a Nairobi Serengeti Bushman Jack Mother-Loving Safari. He's outside, in a t-shirt, surrounded by, petting, and being loved on by giraffes. 



GIRAFFES!!! My favorite animal on Earth!!! Giraffes in the damn wild!!! 



While I'm attempting to take fabulous selfies showing me pretending to have fun at work and slowly dying under these fluorescent lights, he is living my bucket list!! 


That is confidently awesome!! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

New Year's Resolution: Hoarding

I am striving to improve myself. I must make a confession. I am a hoarder. 

I am not a hoarder in the sense of that popular television show. Passing judgement, that is just plain nasty.  In fact, I would like to think that most people do not suspect I hoard anything. This is because my belongings are precisely organized and put away. Nonetheless as I sit in this bedroom, facing my madness, it is daunting and embarrassing. 

Memories, photographs, books, and shoes are some of my favorite possessions to hoard. I am not confirming it, but it is rumored that Imelda Marcos may have been envious of my shoe collection. However, that is not where my madness lies. 

I enjoy clothing as any other woman does, but I do not think you understand. I really love clothing. On the Hunting for Houses television shows when the female inevitable makes the joke, "The Master bedroom closet has enough room for my stuff, where is yours going?" that is me. Seriously, it is me. I am shaking my head yes so you believe me more thoroughly. 
I need and use two, full-sized, master bedroom closets and I still have clothing folded and tightly jammed in dressers and bureaus. I probably have various items in the way-back of my car. I even have some clothes at J2's house. 

I know! I am a sick bitch! 

I cannot adequately explain my appreciation for clothing. Every item I own has a story associated with it. Like the time I wore my Gap button-fly, Long and Lean khakis and was on a date with Grande Juan. He and I were in the living room of my friend's apartment at three am doing gymnastics. No really, we were doing front handsprings, round offs into toe touches, and back walkovers when my pants split right on the seam of the button fly. The pants have been mended, but I have not worn them since that night.

In addition to their stories, I love their colors, cuts, and styles. I appreciate the differences in every item I own. Yet, everything looks the same. Solid colored, button-up sweaters, a-line skirts in every imaginable pattern, a rainbowed array of boot cut pants, and dresses with empire waists galore all leave me looking like a cartoon character who wears the same outfit in every episode. Then, when I add in my fluctuating weight issue everything ranges in sizes 10 to 20. To make matters worse I have not been on the lower side of the size scale in a decade. So, I am obviously hoarding pounds too. 

By posting this, I am holding myself accountable. In six months from today, the eighth of August, I will purge my closets. This means, if I have not worn it, cannot fit into it, or believe it is unstylish and unflattering, except for sentimental items like my prom dress, I will donate it to charity. I know, that is totally like giving the food bank the dusty cans of peas and carrots from the back of the pantry during a food drive. Who knows, by then my velour miniskirts or denim, overall shorts may be fashionable again and you never know when you will need a slutty, leopard print dress. 

I have already started removing clothing tonight. The pearl button sweater sets from Lazurus department store I wore multiple times out dancing to The Drop Shop, 20th Street, and The Stoned Monkey in 1997 are gone.
Also gone is the 'ballerina' shirt I wore while dancing with my girlfriend's on their balcony during Spring Fraternity Rush which was also the 2004 Block Party. At least I have started somewhere with something and they are in the Goodwill pile, for now. 

Until the eighth of August I will be reviewing with adoration, delightfully  reminiscing, and possibly finding the photographs from my scrapbooks that coincide with the stories held within my closets.  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Studying with Phaedra

This child! This one here is a slave driver. I told Phaedra an hour ago that I have a list of 35 prepositions to memorize alphabetically for a grammar test tomorrow. 

"Where are your words? Can I see them?" she asks as the sweet child I love so dearly. Once seated on the bed, she says to me, "Let's learn these." 

"About, above, after, along,..." 

"You already forgot one." Then the evil, straight A, must make honor roll, obsessive side lashes out,  "Do them again! Say them again! Now, again. Faster! Do it quicker like you know them. You're a failure!" 

This is her 'get serious about your education' face. 


Now, she is snapping her fingers at me.

She's a tyrant! She's a slave driver! She's making me study!!! 

Here I am, regretting my decision to tell her I have to study.