Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Memphis Music: Tori Tollison

On Saturday night, well actually it was after two on Sunday morning  when I got to my boyfriend's home from Radio-Memphis.com's Live 12 at the Hard Rock. As I attempted to quietly sneak into the cool, dark bedroom J2, my boyfriend, asked, "So, what is Tori Tollison like?"

Although we don't know of any Tori's other than that reality tv 'celebrity' of course he used her whole name.  After all we are in the South, so when referenced it's an individual's whole name. 

I place my camera bag on top of my overnight travel trunk. I sit there contemplating for a minute.

J2 asks, "Oh really?"

I say, "No. It's not bad I'm figuring out how to say it." I paused again. "You know how you hear things about a person, 'She's a rock star,' 'She really rocks,' stuff like that? Well, Tori is all of that. 

She has a reputation as a rock star on the rise. She's beautiful, young, and knows she has this talent. She's confident. She reminds me of Stevie Nicks. I was intimidated to meet her. 

She has fantastic stage presence. Her voice is killer. She could have a swollen ego or an attitude, but she doesn't. She treats each person like they've been her lifelong friends. She doesn't have to be nice to me, but she is. 

The whole night she was surrounded by her students. She had a School of Rock student, a groupie, follow her around the whole Hard Rock. She even took the girl back to show-off the Green Room and how to get on stage. She treated that little girl like the girl is the star. I was amazed.  

Tori is genuinely nice. That'll take her everywhere."

On Sunday evening, Tori and I send some Facebook messages back and forth to each other. I could not help myself, I had to tell her the huge impression she made on me.

 This is how she responds, "That is honestly the most beautiful thing anyone has said to me!!"

She is humble, too. 

Later, she explains, "I make it a point to treat everyone with the respect an kindness they deserve and it's really great to know that someone notices."

Believe me Tori, people do notice. 

We will definitely be seeing much more from this incredibly talented Memphis beauty. Please, show her your support. Purchase Tori's single Bed You Made from iTunes, visit her ReverbNation page, meander over to her YouTube page, and like her on Facebook.

Recently, Tori earned an endorsement from Killer B Guitars. On Saturday night she rocked her new Killer B Guitar for Radio Memphis' Live 12.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sex Song Sexy

"That 'Sex' song, you know the one J2 sang to me."

First off, J2 did not and does not sing her the song Sex on Fire. At their last gig the Black Bag Project covered that song. Since she was in attendance and because J2 nicknamed her The Silver Fox, which she adores, naturally in a bar filled with people he sang it directly to her. Actually, Blaine sang the song; my Mom is delusional. 

In fact The Silver Fox is down right wild. After BBP was done performing Sex on Fire she leans over and yells in my right ear, "Tell J2 that song worked me up so much that I'm not sure Real Life Superman (that's my Dad) will be able to work out all of the kinks,"



Of course I tell J2

To make matters worse the last time she and Real Life Superman came over to J2's house J2 gets out a guitar and starts playing 'that sex song.' J2 smirks because he thinks he is so clever. 

"Okay, Mom. He did not sing it to you."

The twinkle in her eye is gleaming, "Yeah, okay. That 'Sex' song, you know the one..." Apparently, she knows a somebody, a coworker celebrating her Bachelorette Party, she relays the story to me, "That drummer from The Sex Song Singers,"

His name is Nathan Followill from the band Kings of Leon.

"was on Beale Street Saturday night. He bought the entire bachelorette party of 20 girls drinks at a bar."
Real Life Superman in the elevator on August 16.

That's pretty damn cool. 

"Yeah, you should know them. They're from around here in Tennessee."

I give her a blank stare. I guess because I photograph many Memphis and Mid-South musicians that I am well acquainted with all musicians based out of Tennessee. She is so very flattering. That would be pretty damn cool!
Immediately she changes the subject, "You know what's sexy? That photo you took of Daddy this weekend...the one from the elevator. That's SEXY!" 

Okay, okay, I get it! Somebody learned a new vocabulary word from her classmates on the school bus today. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Irish Wake and Family Photos Recreated

On August 16, 2013 my family gathered to celebrate the life of Gramma Rose and to have her ashes interned. A small service was held and the family made our way out to the cemetery. Although I thought it was going to be a very sad day, it was actually quite nice.

After the ceremony we had some fun, an Irish wake. Here are few of the photos:

After the funeral the entire family gathered for a shot of Aberlour. Uncle K relaxed back with a cigar after the toast and shot.

The Silver Fox, "remember my name you'll be screaming it later."

Then, we had to recreate old family portraits. 

1987 or 1988, from top clockwise: Averill, EngineerBrother, Kimberly, MarineBrother, Colleen, and Kristin

2013, from top clockwise: Averill, EngineerBrother, Kimberly, MarineBrother, Colleen, and Kristin

2001, top row: Kimberly, middle row: Averill, Kristin, EngineerBrother, bottom row: Colleen, and MarineBrother

Of course, we had to make new portraits.

Top: Averill and J2, middle row: Tom, Kristin, Chris, Kimberly, D, EngineerBrother, bottom row: Colleen, Nelson, MarineBrother, and Nicole

The celebration of life is good times with great company!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bleu's Water Slide Birthday Party

Yesterday, J2, the Little Rottens, and I all hopped in my Go-mobile to travel deep across the Stateline, down into Mississippi to celebrate the Little Rotten's sister's, Bleu, birthday party.  This incredible little girl turned 10; a whole decade!! 

To celebrate the fantastic Bleu's birthday she was provided a giant, inflatable water slide birthday party. I could not wait to slap on my swimming suit, put my camera in it's new underwater bag, and join the festivities.   

The slide towered over twenty feet in the air!  Every time a child slid down, no matter the size of the child, the tower rumbled like thunder.

I even took my turn at climbing into the tower to ride down.  I rode the slide six times in all.  Two times I slipped and I slid down the stairs injuring my arms. The first time I slipped I did not have a grasp on the handles. I tumbled down the ladder stairs like purple and white swirled bowling ball. The line of children who were scurrying up the slide for their turns behind me ended up in a pile in the pool. The second time I slipped I held on to the handles. Children scurried, evacuated the sides, and sat on the walls to prevent another dog pile in the pool. Even though I ended up with an adult sized water slide enema and epic swimming suit wedge I would do it again.  It is a blast!   

Take a look at the good times below.

Maverick, a rare photo without a snear. Photo credit: J2

Pandora making faces at her dad. Photo credit: J2

Bleu's daredevil antics on the water slide.

Phaedra gliding down in style.

GG twists like a log roll down the slide.

The sweetest girl on the block, H had a roaring great time!

MJ sliding down squinch-faced.

I could not figure out how MJ made the biggest slashes.  Cannonball!

C riding down in style.

Maverick sliding in ninja form.

C and Bleu riding down while holding hands.

C, again.

Bleu making a huge splash!

Maverick, Phaedra, and Bleu having a bit of sibling fun.

A avoiding water up the nose.

D screaming the entire way down!

The neighbor kids from down the street joined in the festivities.

Phaedra is having a blast.

C did not like the slide, but she posed for a photo.


All of the kids coming up the slide.  They took their lives into their own hands by following behind me.

All of the kids being silly.

All of the kids. 

Adults with little dog

cousin and girlfriend

Kim and Uncle Chris, sibling love
With all of the neighbors, family, and friends in attendance we surely celebrated Bleu's 10th birthday in style!

Saturday, August 10, 2013


I have an addiction. It's not drugs, shopping, or shoes; okay, maybe a little bit of shopping and shoes too. But really, it is my phone. I am always within arms length of this little device. The first thing I do in the morning is check my phone. This annoys J2 to no end. 

When he wakes up in the morning he does not open his eyes before knows I have my phone in hand and I'm pushing imaginary phone buttons or reading articles, "Who ya texting Lindsey?"  

This morning we had a similar conversation. I told him, "I can go all day without playing on my phone."

"Yeah right! All day? We'll see."

I took my phone with us to the Little Rottens' sister's birthday party. It stayed in the car all day. When we got back in the car I checked my notifications for emergency texts or calls. It was not anything I could not respond to later. I put the phone down. 

Thirty minutes ago he comes in the bedroom and I'm furiously  scrolling through status updates, delving into my email, and watching YouTube videos. He declares that he knew I couldn't go a day without my phone. 

I clarify, "I said today. It's tonight now."

He corrected me, "It's still Saturday."

"Nope, it's Saturnight." 

He immediately begins singing The Bay City Rollers, "S-A-T-U-R"

I interrupt, "N-I-G-H-T Night!"

So please, Ladies, join me in a show of solidarity. Begin calling the week night what it truly is: Sunnight, Monnight, Tuesnight, Wednesnight, Thursnight, Frinight, and Saturnight. I need to win this argument. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

House Party

In high school, EngineerBrother was the brother everybody called 'the good one.' He was quiet and unsuspecting.  However, he used to wait until our parents went out of town to throw wild house parties. This particular party during his Senior year's spring break, in 1998, the booze was flowing and later the vomit too.

I am in college. The next day I have a midterm that I actually prepare to take. Although at 2am I do not have a particular interest in waking up for my 7:30am class, I certainly enjoy uninterrupted sleep. I am especially not happy when some big-headed kid is waking me up by calling dinosaurs, "RAWRRRRR!!!" 

The sound is projectile vomit flying across my entire bathroom. It is not the shared bathroom, it is my private bathroom! The bathroom I scrub once a week; we ritualistically complete cleaning chores every Friday.

I run to the bathroom and catch him spewing his guts all over my mirror, vanity, counter top, walls, baseboards, throw rug, and tile floor in an attempt to make it to the toilet.

"What are you doing?" I scream in disbelief and horror.

I am going to make sure he learns his lesson. No, not a lesson in controlling his alcohol. I am going to teach him a lesson in waking me up and one hell of a payback for vomiting all over my clean bathroom. 

I scream some choice words at this high school kid. I march into the storeroom to gather the cleaning bucket and a rag. I come back to the bathroom and pull the Windex, paper towels, and Comet from under the sink. 

I stand over the drunko-barfo kid as I give him instructions to clean my bathroom. He collapses on the cold, bathroom floor in the middle of puke-splatter, surrounded by cleaning products. The Comet makes a blurry, light green, chalk outline of his passed out body. He could be mistaken as having passed out while attempting to snort powder disinfectant like a cocaine substitute had I not been here to witness the entire incident. 

Big-Head is on a mission to settle in for the night. He is searching for warmth that cannot be found from wrapping himself up in the vomit-covered throw rug. He army-crawls from the bathroom into my walk-in closet. Big-Head curls up and begins snoring on the carpet, his head is nestling into and surrounded by neatly organized shoe racks full of high heels and platforms. 

I am beyond pissed-off! I give up on making the kid clean my bathroom to storm upstairs. I walk in to the kitchen where my brother's friend, the Police Captain's son, is pouring out shots of pilfered, clear liquor that he liberated from his father's bar, "AVERILL!!! Just in time for shots!"

The whole room erupts in cheers of my name, "AVERILL!!!"

I locate my brother and in front of a good portion of his friends and track teammates I fire at him in the form of cursing, "Since your stupid, drunk, big-headed, a-hole friend puked all over my f*cking bathroom you are going to clean that shit up so I can use my bathroom and go to bed!" I am red in the face and holding my arms at my sides while clenching my hands in tight fists. I am hysterical as I manage to screech, "AND he's PASSED OUT in MY closet!!!" 

Reflecting on this incident now, I can see where I might have slightly over reacted. But, I am the big sister and can get away with being b*tchy sometimes. Besides, I used to be super high strung. What can I say? I do not like messes or stupidity and I certainly do not deal well with people's insides that refuse to remain on the interior. 

The whole party yells, nearly in unison, "Chris!!!" 

Others are exclaiming, "Chris lost the bet!" 

High fives are being exchanged to a chorus of hearty laughter.

I hear someone else, "That b*tch is always the first to go!"

Trey rushes downstairs to the basement, my area of the house. He cleans up the mess and ushers Chris to the living room. Before I shut and lock both of my bedroom doors and go to sleep I warn Trey, "Don't let anymore of your stupid friends puke in the house. They can go outside so it doesn't have to be cleaned up. And that sh*t stinks! You know Mom's gonna go ballistic if it gets on her white carpets."

Mom did not exactly have white carpets. The entire house is carpeted in light grey carpet that shows every misstep or dropped object. There are two number one rules in our household; one, no shoes are ever to be worn on the carpet, and one, no food or beverages outside of the kitchen. If anything is steadfast and true it is these rules. 

The next morning I wake up for class to find another kid passed out on the floor in the living room. I do not think anything about it, I have a midterm to attend.

I come home and Trey is leaning over the spot where his second friend was sleeping. He is furiously scrubbing the carpet. 

"What happened there?"

"Seth's stupid-ass f*cking puked a red pile of kool-aid and liquor concoction."

My eyes are wide.  My Mom's pristine carpet! The Silver Fox is going to murder my brother. The whole house of light grey carpet and it is only stained in this one spot.

"It was nice knowing you. But, you have to fix this. I'm not getting in-trouble for your stupid friend at your party. I didn't even attend it."

I skip out of the house. This does not concern me, let 'the good one' fix his own problem. 

He fixes it all right. He immediately calls The Silver Fox, who is on vacation, to tell her about the puke.  The story goes like this, "I went for a long run. When I got home I was overheated and cramping. I could not make it to the back patio." He apologizes to Mom for accidentally puking on the carpet. 

She buys it! Can you believe she buys that crap?? He gets away with it, all of it: the party, the liquor, the friends, and the puke. In disbelief and amazement I murmur, "All of it."

It is not until years later when we are all adults and reminiscing about our childhoods after Thanksgiving dinner that Trey is found out. Trey is married and has children of his own, what can The Silver Fox do now? 

She did the only thing she can, she grills us on what else we got away with, "What were the round, greasy spots on the painted walls in the basement?"

The answer to that is another story. 

This Tuesday night, I come home to an empty house. I thought my parents were picking up MarineBrother at the base for his leave and coming right home; a 36 hour drive lickety-split. 

I text my Dad, "When will you be home from vacation?"

He responds. 

I text back:

When they get home I guarantee she'll be stepping lightly, looking for any evidence of a wild, rap-star style house party on these light salmony-pink carpets of hers. Good luck with that! I'm taking my cues from 'the good one.' 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I Support Local Music

On the way home from the Radio Memphis studio this evening I see the drummer from Sin City Scoundrels. He is riding his bike north on Cooper. It is 8:30 and the outside temperature is standing at a stifling 95 degrees. Naturally, I pull over and roll down the passenger side window.

The drummer looks annoyed.  

I holler, "Hey, Sin City!"

Chris Hart of Sin City Scoundrels performing at the Haystack in Millington, TN on May 18, 2013.

He stops his bike. With a look of surprise from being recognized a smile spreads across his face, "Yes."

"You going somewhere? Wanna throw you bike in the back of my car? I'll take you."

"Yep. Nope, I'm riding my bike. That was the plan."

"Okay, be safe. Have a good night."

I pull away from the curb.

At this exact moment I realize that this drummer, Chris Hart, does not know who the hell I am. From my vantage point, with the street light above and headlights from oncoming traffic spotlighting him, I recognized him immediately. Besides, I've had the pleasure of photographing the Sin City Scoundrels twice; of course I recognize him! 

For all he knows, minding his own business, straddling his bike on the sidewalk I was just a weirdo with a female voice from inside a soccer-mom vehicle. I might as well have offered him some candy or promised him a kitten if he got in my vehicle. 

So, Memphis Musicians be aware, if I see you walking or biking in the summer heat or in the cold of winter I will stop to offer you a ride. I'm not a crazed, lunatic fan. I am Averill. I photograph for Radio-Memphis.com. I support local music. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Second Opinion

This morning as I sit in the car and mentally prepare myself for a battery of tests at this second opinion appointment I can't help but to hope for the best. I've already heard the hard part. 

As I walk in the building an old lady with a cane flags me down to walk with her. Immediately she starts 'Lord talking.' From prior experience in Doctor's offices I want to avoid the Lord talkers; they tend to want to lay hands on me. Since I have an immediate unease of stranger danger and the germs they carry I feel like a trapped deer on the first day of hunting season. She blesses me profusely before getting distracted by one of her friends. "Harold," she says to an elderly gentleman with his pants pulled up to his nipples and a fresh orange stain in between the fourth and fifth buttons of his blue shirt. I easily walk away from their reunion, slightly comforted that this appointment will go smoothly. 

I'm an hour early to my appointment. I sign in, set up my laptop, and get called for a urine sample. The last time I was here I was on-time and still had to wait to be called for a sample. Then, I had a two hour wait before I was called back for my appointment. But, because I'm prepared to wait....

I get in the bathroom to give the  sample. I really have to go. No, really. I have to go. I'm fumbling to hang my purse and laptop bag from the hook on the back of the door. I  struggle to lift up my dress; I am not fast enough. I can feel it. I am standing with urine running down my legs and on to the floor. I clamp down with a massive Kegel exercise to stop the urine. Now, I've got to clean this up and I have not even gone. I'm clenching my arms to my sides furiously holding my dress above my waist. In my left hand I am holding the sample cup, in the right hand I am mentally struggling to hold the pen, 'how many other women have held this disgusting bathroom pen with urine soaked fingers?'

I scribble my name, leave a sample, wipe up the floor with paper towels, and scrub my hands in the sink. 

Grateful that I carry extra panties to these appointments I give myself a bath with the provided baby wipes then dig out the clean pair of panties that are crumpled at the bottom of my purse, and shimmy them up my legs. I am giggling profusely only imagining what the nurse waiting outside the door is thinking. 

I get called back for my appointment. I'm in a dark room, laying on this table, with a stranger woman, who is the ultrasound tech, steadily holding a wand inside my treasure. She is throughly examining the contents of my insides. We are both laughing because I am the first patient she has ever had to blog the experience while in utero. I begin to cackle when I imagine photographing the situation. When I make the joke suggesting the photograph she looks horrified which makes me laugh even harder. 

As I lay here getting my insides rearranged I think to myself that I'll consider it a good day if I can get through this next test without crying or shitting on the table. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

First Day of School Photos

Maverick sneaked out of the house this morning. He told me last night he doesn't want his photo made and he isn't going to have it made. We'll have to get Pan to snap it when Mav comes home. 

Phaedra greets me as I come out of the bedroom. She curtsies and spins in her new, first day of school, lace, mint green dress, with gold buttons down the front of the bodice, and capped sleeves. Her long, dark hair is untethered and reaches down to her elbows. She looks like a Disney Princess. She flutters her eyelashes, "I'll help you to the car." She dances down the hallway heading to open the front door. 

I stop in the kitchen to add ice to my water. 

She flits around like a fairy as she sings, "I need my first day of school picture taken."

"I know, but your eyelashes are white from eyeshadow; you have to finish your make-up first, Sweetie. I've gotta leave for work now, make sure your Dad gets your picture before you go to school, okay?"


She walks me to the car, "I love my new dress! Thank you! I love you! Have a great day at work!"

"You too! I love you."

Two kids from the same stock and they couldn't be more opposite if they tried.

Maverick returning from the first day of school. He walked a quarter of a mile home from the bus stop in a torrential downpour.
Phaedra did wear shoes, but she took them off and left them at her friend's house.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Shopping Adventure

This evening the Little Rotten Ladies and I are Tax Free Tennessee shopping for practical things like fancy first day of school outfits. At Kohls I find the absolutely perfectly darling daschund t-shirt. I don't just want this shirt, I have an overwhelming desire for the soft green material to envelope my upper body. I need this t-shirt. Of course there is a problem. The green tee is a size medium. Nothing on my body has been a medium for nine years.  

Before I am overtaken by utter disappointment I seek out a sales clerk to find my size. Pandora and Phaedra follow me. A couple of aisles over I find four sales ladies gathered around the t-shirt tables. They are busying themselves by folding the aftermath of the tax-free holiday disaster. 

I kindly ask them, "Where are the rest of these t-shirts located?" I hold up the daschund tee, "I need a different size."

"That's the last one. We don't got no more unless it's misplaced."

They begin explaining how I could possibly order the t-shirt somewhere called on the line, but I'm too busy screaming inside my head. 

I exclaim, "Seriously?"

They look at me, "Yes."

I clench the t-shirt in both of my hands and yell, "NOOOOOO!!!!" as I throw myself to the floor. I rock myself back and forth. I writhe on the floor as I impersonate Nancy Kerrigan, "Why? Why me? Why???"

All of the sales ladies stop completely what they are doing. I see the looks on their faces and I know they are contemplating calling security or Lakeside. They look at each other and the questions are forming, "Over a t-shirt, really?"

For starters it's not just a t-shirt. No ma'am. It is the most spectacular shade of kelly green with little, baby, navy colored daschunds placed on it like polka dots. All of which I love. The fabric is soft like a vintage tee, the exact amount of broken in for utmost comfort. It is perfect! So excuse me while I sulk and mourn.

Pandora and Phaedra are standing there stunned. The looks on their faces are priceless! They look at each other and in an instant utilize the power of unspoken sibling communication. It is the exact same look I have seen on the faces of EngineerBrother and MarineBrother when the Silver Fox begins chewing out everyone in sight for bad service, an unacceptably unclean table set with dirty utensils, or the server for vacuuming underneath us while we are eating. It is the exact moment we know we are leaving without eating; a sad parade of disappointment that reminiscing twenty years later can send us into hysterical fits of laughter. 

The girls cannot tell if I am serious or yanking someone's chain. Pandora scatters and Phaedra disappears like she has melted into a clothing rack. 

At this point I'm laughing so hard the sales ladies think I'm crying. I stand up, brush off my knees, and with a straight face say, "I'm just messing with y'all. I'll go to your Collierville store to pick up the t-shirt."

I walk away leaving them to discuss my invented, hysterical meltdown, a true shopping adventure.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cubicle Visit

Just call me Milton Waddams. In two months I've had five desks with two permanent moves. Big Boss jokes that I'll be moving again next week. No big deal because we're already in the basement. But, we'll have a real problem if a certain someone takes my stapler. You know who has already told on me multiple times because she has her eyes specifically on my stapler. 

The stapler in question. 

Let's celebrate the small things. I'm moving up in the world. I've got my own cubicle with a door. Here's the new work digs.