So Long Old Friend

“I’m ready,” I said, a deceptively strong face fighting back tears.

I caressed your soft fur one last time. I gazed into your sapphire eyes; you knew, somehow.

“I’m ready,” I said, but that wasn’t what I meant.




33 words + the phrase “That wasn’t what I meant.” for this week’s Trifecta Challenge.

This past Saturday, I said goodbye to my furry friend of nearly 18 years,  Sugar.  I’m going to miss her sweet disposition and loving nature.  She really was the picture of a perfect cat, so eager to give love and affection.  I don’t think anyone is ever truly ready to say good-bye to family.


Stay positive & love your life!




Listening to: Air – Who Am I Now?

Eating:  Hummus and veggies wrap.

Random fact:  You can add Costco to the list of odd smells I enjoy.  Maybe it’s the cardboard boxes.



Confessions of a Childhood Home: Branford, FL

So it is time for me to say goodbye to Branford one more time.  Kinda.  You never really say a true goodbye to Branford if you’re from there.  It’s more of a “I’ll see ya after while” to which Branford replies, “y’all come back now, ya hear”.   You see, my parents are moving and while I’m super excited about having a lot more to do each time I visit (Gainesville has infinitely more options), I’m saddened to be bidding adieu to my childhood home. This new house will be great, but nothing can ever come close to replacing the house you grew up in. Man do I have some memories in that house!

It really makes you think that if that house were a living being, boy has it seen some shit.  Oh the stories it could share with it’s new owner!  Well they do say that confession is good for a house’s soul, so I thought we’d give 116 Hillcrest Circle some time in the confessional.

Forgive me father, it’s been quite a while since my last confession, you see, I’m a house.  With a new family coming in I thought it might be good to like, ya know, clean out my attic so to speak.  Yeah, so, how exactly do I do this?

Speak from your heart son.

Heart?  Hmmm, okay, I suppose that’s like a furnace. 

Sure, go ahead.

Well they moved in back in ’87 after watching me grow from blocks of wood and bricks.  They were obviously excited; you could tell from all of the yelling and running around.  That little blonde boy used to ride his bike up and down the big dirt mound out front that they brought in to level out my front yard.  I suppose I was a bit out of balance.  Anyway, the yelling never stopped. 

You mean to say that they fought a lot?  Were angry?

No, just loud.  Very loud!  Especially the girl.  She started talking the moment she walked in and didn’t stop till she left for college.  Apparently she has a lot to say and she likes to say it so everyone can hear. I think she got it from the man.  He was super loud too.   Hello, we can hear you!  Sorry, I got a little sidetracked.  So, yes, they were all quite loud.

Go on.

They boy and girl would wake up each morning when they didn’t have school and burst out of the house.  It was like they couldn’t wait to get out of me.  They’d play in the woods behind me for hours, making trails and forts.  Sometimes they’d climb trees so high that I’d get a bit nervous.  But what could I do?  At lunch they’d come in gobble up a peanut butter and banana sandwich and then they’d rush out again.  Ha ha ha…

What is it?

I was just thinking about this one time the boy didn’t want to eat his sandwich.  So the girl told him to throw it in the weeds.  He did.  Apparently she didn’t want her sandwich either, because the next thing I knew she was tossing out her sandwich as well.  Then you’ll never believe what happened.


She went in and told on the boy for tossing his sandwich!  Can you believe it?  Of course he then ratted her out.  Awwww, but those two were quite the team.  They’d race biked around the neighborhood like maniacs.  Sometimes they’d come back with bloody knees and elbows.  But it didn’t seem to phase them.  I think they liked being dirty.  They sure took many a grubby shower in my bathroom.  Leaves, beggar weeds, thorns, and all manner of stuff would stick to them.  I always liked when it was hot, because then they’d play in the hose and sprinkler.  That always felt so good on my hot cement.  You know, brick isn’t exactly summer wear.  And they don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing.

So I’ve heard.  So this little boy and girl were buddies huh?

Oh yes!  They got along very well….for the most part.

So sometimes they fought?

On occasion.  One time they put a hole in my hallway door.  Ouch!

How’d that happen?

Every Easter it never failed, they’d find their Easter baskets (the woman hid them in the house) and the girl would instantly start gobbling up all of her candy.  The boy would nibble a few odds and ends and then move on to playing with whatever toy came in his basket.  A few days later, the girl’s candy would be gone.  The boy would wrap his Easter bunny in Saran wrap and put it the fridge.  Each day or so, he’d come back in and nibble a little off the ears.  Well, this drove the girl crazy!  She decided to start taking secret nibbles of the bunny as well.  Oh, but her greed caught up with her!  The boy realized what was happening.  By goodness, the ears were just disappearing too quickly.  He confronted her with the chilled bunny!  Well she just stuck out her tongue and said, “I wanted some and mine was gone.”  So he chucked that ice-cold, ear-less rabbit right at her head!  She ducked and it ended up hitting me right in the hallway door.  It made a huge hole.  That kid had an arm!

I bet she didn’t sneak anymore of the bunny after that.

Nope, at least not that Easter.  Oh, I have another Easter story!

Great.  But why don’t we save that for next time.  I have quite the line forming out there.

Sure, I just have so much to tell;  26 years is quite a bit of life!  I’ll be back in.  So, what is my penance?

You’re a house,  so I’m not really sure what would work for you.  How about you look in the bathroom mirror and say three Hail Marys?


So obviously I’ll be continuing my Branford house confessional in the coming weeks.  I plan to pull out the photo albums so I can give you guys a little visual with this too!  Until then, here’s a picture the house uncovered of the girl and some of her childhood buddies.  This one was from their trip to Grad Nite at Disney.  What a fashionable bunch!


Want to know why I love Branford, FL so much?  Check out my post:  5 Reasons Branford was an Awesome Place to Grow Up

Stay positive & love your life!



Listening to:  Pepper – Tradewinds

Random fact:  That banana and peanut butter story actually predates this house, but I couldn’t leave it out.

Want to live in this famous house?  It’s for sale!  Check it out:  Kick-ass Home

My Super Hero Secret

The day has finally come when I feel compelled to reveal my true identity as a mutant.  I can hide in the shadows no longer and deny my true self.  I have a super power, the strength of which is so great that Professor Xavier himself attempted to recruit me for his academy many years ago.  Unfortunately, I passed as I was still anxiously awaiting my Hogwart’s letter.  It never came.  That means that I missed out on Cyclops for absolutely nothing.  So is life.


What is this power you ask?  Powerful telepath?  Nope.  Shape shifter?  Hardly.  Phasing?  Not even close.  Constant reactive evolution?  I wish!   No, ladies and gentlemen, my super human strength is my sniffer.  Yep, this wee nose I possess is quite powerful indeed.  I rival the most prize winning blood hound.  And like most super powers, it’s both a blessing and a curse.

On the curse list:

  • Farts– If there is a crop-dusting incident happening in a 50-yard radius, I’m going to be a casualty.
  • Washing Machine Mishaps–  Oh, you didn’t wash your towels on hot?  Yeah, I can tell.  That fabric softener is no match for my snout.  I can decipher mildew in my sleep.  FYI, you should be washing your gym clothes in hot water too smelly gym guy.
  • Poor Hygiene– You forgot to put deodorant on today huh?  Actually, that’s not a question;  I was just letting you know.
  • Stinky Office Food-  Salmon for lunch again?  You’re the best!  Burnt popcorn?  Fantastic!  Bacon?  Just what I wanted to smell wafting into my office.  Nothing says we’re part of the fitness industry quite like bacon.
  • Dog Poop–  Jo takes a crap on the other side of the yard and I might as well be sniffing by her tail.  Don’t get me started on her horrible breath.
  • Any Smell That Has Been in My House, Ever-  I could work for some sort of smell CSI unit.  I can tell you that a cat once peed in this room, a year ago.  Yep, even after scrubbing and shampooing, it’s still there.  No one else can smell it.  Just me.  Aren’t I lucky?  We cooked dinner in a skillet two days ago and I’m still spraying Febreeze on everything:  the air, the furniture,….the dog.  My nose can detect smells most can’t even if their face is literally shoved in it.  It’s the equivalent of “out damn spot” only stinky.

But all of this misery is well worth the positive.  I love delightful smells and I smell them at such an acute level.  So while the coffee is pretty delightful for you, it’s freaking fantastic for me.  A wonderful perfume is like heaven.  A batch of cookies baking is ecstasy.  But the number one thing I love about smelling everything is that it has helped me recall so many memories I may have lost in the recesses of my mind should a smell have passed me by.

Pause for a quick smelling lesson

You see, the sense of smell is housed in the brain’s limbic system, an area of the brain closely associated with memory and feeling.  It’s actually even referred to as the “emotional brain”.  For this reason, a smell can trigger a nearly instant flash back.  The olfactory bulb has intimate access to the amygdala, which processes emotion, and the hippocampus, which is responsible for associative learning.  Because of all of this tight wiring and conditioned response, you associate a smell to a time, place, or person.  And the feelings associated with the memory flood right back.    The link is part of your brain’s mapping.

Now that I’m done playing Bill Nye Science Guy, let’s look at two recalls that have happened for me in the past week:

Do I smell mothballs?

Walking to the bus this morning I was hit in the face with a nice burst of mothball.  My first thought should have been, why the hell is someone loading their car with mothballs?  Seriously, what odor is so bad that mothballs is preferable?  Oh my god, what if they have a dead body in the trunk?

Ok, so maybe that shouldn’t have been my first thought….

Instead, the first thing that popped into my mind was my high school friend (who I haven’t talked to in 15 years) and her aunt.  Her aunt was legally blind and lived alone.  Her house was a mothball bomb.  You could smell it out in the yard.  When I asked Tara about it, she explained that her aunt was deathly afraid of spiders and since she couldn’t see them, her paranoia got the best of her.  The mothballs ensured that spiders (and basically most living things) wouldn’t dare come into her home.

Someone make me some buttermilk biscuits and give me a bucket of butter beans to shell.

On Saturday I was planting my fall/winter garden (better a bit late than never).  My peppers are still kicking ass, so the sweet smell of bell pepper was tickling my nose.  Then I caught a whiff of vidalia onion.  Finally, the trifecta happened;  the smell of freshly turned soil edged in.  Instantly I was a kid again at my Great Granny Marie’s house.  Her and my Grandaddy had a farm:  cows, chickens, tractors, the whole nine.  They always had a crop of something working and us grand kids were always picking, shelling, shucking, or hauling something.

As soon as my garden worked its memory magic on me,  I was instantly hugged with the warmest, happiest, most perfect memories of a childhood well spent and a wonderful matriarch.

I don’t have a picture of my Great Granny on my computer, but here is the next best thing.  Here is my Great Granny Kat.  She is Granny’s daughter and in my opinion, the most like her.  She is also a true matriarch in every sense of the word.  I’m sure Granny is smiling down on what a generous, awesome person she continues to be.


At the end of the day, I couldn’t abandon this gift even if I tried, nor would I want to.  Yeah, I may have to suffer through a few more cases of halitosis exposure than most, but I also share in an abundance of olfactory inspired memories.


One last nod to what could’ve been….

Stay positive & love your life!



Listening to:  The Cure – Sleep When I’m Dead

Eating:  Pasta, again.

Drinking:  H20, as per usual.

Reading:  “Vampyres of Hollywood” by Adrienne Barbeau & Michael Scott

Five for Friday: Five Reasons Branford, FL Was A Nice Place To Grow Up

Growing up, when people would learn I am from Florida, they’d always respond with, “Oh, that must be nice.  You have the beaches and Disney.”  Yeah, not quite.  The nearest beach (in the actual beach on an ocean sense) is several hours away; Disney is three.  I’d have to explain that I wasn’t from that part of Florida.

No, I’m from the middle of nowhere, lots of woods and mosquitoes, the nearest real town is a 30 minute drive part of Florida.  Branford, FL.  Matt and I are heading down for a visit this Labor Day.  We plan of doing some serious tubing on the Ichetucknee (see what happened last time I attempted a floating trip).  So I figured I’d dedicate this Five for Friday post to my hometown!

Branford is nestled right in the middle of North Florida on the historic Suwannee River.  And aside from that river and the University of Florida 45 minutes down the road, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot going on.

Oddly enough, the town’s website actually uses the verbiage “nestled on the banks of the Suwannee River”.  See, that river really is the main event.

Branford is a small, friendly town nestled on the banks of the Suwannee River, where pride in family, community and patriotism create a wonderful quality of life. It is a peaceful, rural area of natural beauty balancing the old with the new. Enjoy browsing our website and then make plans to come see what you are missing here in Branford Florida.

I knew from a young age that when I graduated high school, I’d have to leave this town in the dust (actual dust from all of the dirt roads).  Now I only get back to visit family a few times a year, and I truly look forward to my trips home.  Because while Branford is somewhere that I wouldn’t want to live, it is a fun little place to visit, and it actually was a nice place to grow up.  And oddly enough, it’s the lack of much to do (in terms of what a city offers) that yields the:

Five Reasons Branford, FL was a Nice Place to Grow Up

Number 5:  The Rivers

As you’ve already learned, Branford enjoys being nestled up next to the Suwannee River.  But it also boasts several other great rivers:  the Sante Fe and the Ichetucknee.  The Ichetucknee is my favorite.  The water is crystal clear and the six mile stream of connected springs flows through some truly breathtaking nature.


Number 4:  The Springs

As great as the rivers are, they have nothing on the springs.  Branford has some really kick ass springs.  From Florida Dive Connection:

“This landlocked area of the state has contributed more diving knowledge and innovations to our sport than just about any area of the country. The little town of Branford is known as the “Cave Diving Capital of the World” and many of the pioneers of cave diving hailed from this section of Florida.”

I really miss hopping in the car and heading down for a quick swim “at the springs”.  Many a summer was spent in a bathing suit jumping from trees and platforms, catching minnows, and hanging out on the steps.  You better believe I visit these spots every trip home and we always make a stop for a huge helping of boiled peanuts from the side of the road.

l littleriver1 ar131588364094362

Number 3:  Woods and Dirt Roads

I spent at least 85% of my waking hours each summer outside.  My brother and I climbed trees, made forts, and cautiously avoided prickly pears in the woods behind our house.  As we got older, we turned to the woods or dead-end dirt roads as a hang out spot with our friends.  And boy did we do some “hanging out”.  A bonfire, case of Natural Lite or a bottle of Boones Farm, and a car stereo system lent themselves to many a fun night.



Number 2:  School Events

Since there wasn’t much else typically going on in town, any event at the school became a town event.  I think almost every house in the town was empty on Fridays in the fall, because everyone was in the stands cheering on a then constantly losing football team.  And it didn’t matter that we were losing, people had so much Buccaneer pride that it transcended the score.  School play or pageant?  The auditorium was packed.  Fall Festival?  People were lined up to shoot the flame out of a jack-o-lantern or bob for apples.

That’s not something you see in sprawling cities like metro Atlanta.  Parents are there, but the community isn’t; at least not in the same way Branford is.

Number 1:  The School

I went to a K-12 school (now an elementary and high school).  That concept is so completely foreign to most people, but it made for some truly unique experiences.  My high school track coach was my PE coach when I was in elementary school.  I had some AMAZING teachers throughout the years (most notably Mr. Murfee, HS English and Mrs. Wingate, 4th & 6th grade).  I was involved in almost every club and sport that was offered; because the school really is the life of that town.  And most remarkably, twelve of the kids in my graduating class (of 69) actually started kindergarten with me!  That’s wild!  I made some of the the best friends of my life and got to crash through every hurdle of my adolescence with them by my side.

branford panoramic

So there you have it, a short homage to B-town.  I’ll have to make a “5 things that happened when I lived there that would garner a lawsuit anywhere else” list next.  Now, that would be a good read!

Stay positive & love your life!



Listening to: Team Sleep – Tomb Of Liegia

Eating:  Pasta

Drinking:  H2O but I’m about to be on the hunt for something with caffeine.

Random fact:  One time my brother kicked a prickly pear and it landed in my leg.  Holy ouch!  I’m sure I got him back.

Five for Friday: My Top Five Educational Programs from the 80s.

Boy oh boy do I have a great list for today’s Five for Friday! If you’re under the age of 30, most of these are going to look like relics pulled from the dusty drawers of a PBS storage closet.

That’s the Public Broadcasting System for those of you who’ve never experienced living in a house without cable;  long before the Al Gore even thought about inventing the internet.  They showed a lot of educational programming, Dr. Who, British comedy, and every fifteen minutes they come on and beg for your money. 

Some of these are quite amazing aside from being dated; others, not so much.  But time and memory have a way of making you embrace things.  So even the worst of these occupy a corner of my mind and my heart.

One final word before I get to the list, I did not include “Sesame Street” because it’s still going strong.  I wanted to focus on some great shows that met their ends long ago.  Clearly “Sesame Street” would be included in anyone’s  top educational show list!

Number 5:  “Trust Me” starring Curt Hiss, the beatboxing, drug-free snake (1987)

Never heard of this?  Yeah, I doubt many have.  This was a shoddily made puppet show movie released on VHS (that’s how us weirdos watched movies long before Netflix and Blueray; they were tapes that went in an odd contraption known as a VCR).  Some how the preschool where my Mom taught pre-K got a hold of a copy.  Therefore, I was subjected to viewing it 400+ times.  Learn about the scary effects of smoking a joint and the risks of peer pressure.  How’d this make my top 5?  Well, I just felt that others should be subjected to this WTF memory that is burned into my brain.

Seriously, take the next 22 minutes of your life and watch this.  It is ridiculously bad and hilarious.

Number 4:  Square One (1987-1992)

The goal of this show was to teach kids about mathematics and abstract mathematical concepts.  It featured sketches, parodies, and even some game shows.  My favorite bit was Mathnet.  It featured two detectives who solved crimes using math.  No wonder I grew up to love the show “Numb3rs”!

Number 3:  3-2-1 Contact (1980-1988)

This show taught kids all about scientific principles and their applications.  It was responsible for creating little home scientists long before “Bill Nye the Science Guy”!

Number 2:  Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (1963-2001)

Who doesn’t love Mr. Rogers?  He taught kids so many wonderful lessons about life, being good to others, and appreciating the world around them.  I was enthralled with the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and adored Henrietta Pussycat.

Number 1:  Reading Rainbow (1983-2006)

It had one main goal:  to encourage kids to read.  As a self-professed bookworm and soon-to-be president of the LeVar Burton fan club, of course I’m going to rank this at the very top of my list!

And as a special treat, here is Jimmy Fallon doing The Doors sing “Reading Rainbow”-

Honorable Mentions:

Tomes & Talismans (1986)  A show about kids traveling around in a Bookmobile trying to save the world’s knowledge (books) from these beings known as The Wipers.  Essentially it was a tricky way to force kids to learn about the Dewey Decimal System (back in ancient times this is how we organized books in a library…, a library is way different than the book shelf on your Kindle….never mind).

The Letter People (1972)  These guys were still going strong in my small town when I entered Kindergarten in 1985.  They were letter-based characters designed to teach kids how to “sound out” words.  They used the basic rules of phonics in song and story.  I was obsessed with them!  Of course my favorite Letter Person was Mr. M, with the munching mouth.  I bet I can still name every one of them!


Wanna hear all of their letter songs?

What were your favorite educational shows as a kid?

Stay positive & love your life!



Listening to:  Hello Saferide – Highschool Stalker

Eating:  A mishmosh of leftovers.

Drinking:  H2O

Reading:  “Dreamsongs Volume I” by George R. R. Martin

Random fact:  I will force my children to watch all of the shows one day.

Five for Friday: My Five Favorite Children’s Books

I’m fairly certain that I have been an avid book fan since the moment of my birth, because I honestly don’t remember a part of my life in which I wasn’t being read to or reading.  We always had a ton of books in the house and made weekly trips to the public library.  I looked forward to it like I was going to Disney World.  Having all of these books around was quite handy, because  I was quite possibly the world’s worst nap taker.   Every afternoon my Mom would be put me in my room for “nap time” and I would lie there reading for an hour.  As I got a bit older, I participated in every reading program and contest I could find.  I probably read more books than any other child in the history of Pizza Hut’s Book It! program (I just googled this and am so excited that it still exists!). We ate more free personal pan pizzas than you can imagine.   I crushed the Sunshine State Young Readers Program every year.  There was no way I was going to let some other kid win the free dictionary or lunch with the principal.


Anyone else remember these?

So you get the point, I love books and I love reading.

After an 80s related Facebook post yesterday that mentioned the “Sweet Valley High” series, I started thinking about all of the books I loved as a kid.  Since there are so many of them, this is going to have to span multiple posts broken out by age bands.  Today I bring to you the books I obsessed over as a young child (up to say, 6 years old).


Number 5:  “The Story About Ping”  Marjorie Flack 1933

This was the only book at my Mema and Papa’s house.  I chose to read this 100+ times instead of looking at the TV Guide.


The story is about a duck named Ping who’s owner takes him and his little duck family out to the lake to feed.  When it is time to return to his owner, he is late.  Fearing a spanking he hides and is captured by a boy on a boat who intends to serve him to his family for dinner.  Luckily, the boy decides to release Ping who ends up returning to his owner as the last duck and  receiving the spanking he was trying so hard to avoid.

Moral- Don’t be late.  When you mess up, face the consequences.



Number 4:  “Mrs. Nelson is Missing” by Harry Allard and James Marshall 1977

I think my mom had this for her preschool class.  I thought Mrs. Nelson was so clever.


After Mrs. Nelson’s class behaves especially poorly, she doesn’t show up to teach one day.  The class thinks they are in for a treat because now they can really act up.  But before they have the chance, the substitute, Miss Viola Swamp, shows up.  She is very strict and gives them a lot more work than Mrs. Nelson ever did.  The children are miserable .  After days of suffering, they go looking for Mrs. Nelson to find out why she hasn’t been in class.  The next day Mrs. Nelson returns and the children are happy.  It’s revealed to the reader that Viola Swamp was really Mrs. Nelson in disguise.

Moral- Don’t take advantage of those who treat you nicely, because one day you’ll wish you’d been more appreciative. 



Number 3:  “The Old Man and the Afternoon Cat”  by Michaela Munteen  1982

My Mom subscribed to a series of books from Parents magazine.  Every month we received a new, exciting book.  This one was me and my brother’s favorite from the series.  We’d sing the songs all the time.


The story is about a very grumpy old man who basically is miserable about everything in his life.  All he does all day is bitch and moan.  He even has grumpy songs he sings like this one:

I Hate Birthdays

I hate birthdays, I hate spring,

I hate almost everything.

I can be nasty, mean and grumpy.I like to sleep on a bed that’s lumpy.

I’m all alone, there’s no one but me.

No one that I think about, no one that I see.

No one to ask me, “How was your day?”

I’m all alone and I like it that way!

Then one afternoon in the park, an orange cat befriends him.  Everyday he visits the park to nap on the bench with his afternoon cat.  One day the cat doesn’t show up.  He creates posters and asks people around the town about his missing friend.  He learns that his cat is also friends with the school kids, the baker, the grocer, the policeman, and everyone else.  Finally he figures out that the cat has been taken to the pound.  He rushes to the pound to rescue him and places a tag on his collar so that everyone will know he’s not a stray.  He and the entire community are thrilled to have their cat back.  And everyday after, he and his cat go to visit all of the new friends the old man has made while looking for his cat.

Moral- Friends are everywhere if you’re open to making them.  Animals are awesome friends. 


Number 2:  “Liza Lou and the Yeller Bellied Swamp”  by Mercer Mayer 1976

I checked this one out from the public library so many times that I’m surprised the librarian didn’t just give it to me.


Liza Lou is a little girl who ends up out in the swamp delivering sweet potatoes to her grandmother.  She encounters and manages to outwit haunts, gobblygooks, witches, and devils.

Yeller belly cottonmouth,
Possum up a tree,
You can catch the swamp fever
But you can’t catch me.

Moral- Nothing in life is a match for a sharp mind and  a daring attitude.



Number 1:  “The Secret Inside”  by Geoffrey Hayes 1980

My Mom still has this one.  It’s not very well known.  This book just seemed so magical to me when I was a kid.  From the antique cover which was devoid of the standard colorful illustrations to the bizarre story line, I adored everything about this book.


Patrick the bear meets a mysterious innkeeper who shows him the secret of his innermost thoughts.  And that’s all I remember.  It was such an odd book and I can’t even find much about it online (aside from copies for sale, one of which is $60).  Hayes wrote many other books about Patrick the bear.  They all look like normal kids books and are widely available.    I can’t wait until I visit home so I can reread it.

Moral- We all have secrets?  I really don’t recall the exact message.

Honorable mentions:

“Go Dog Go” by P. D. Eastman 1961-  This is the first book I read on my own.


Anything by Dr. Seuss- Obviously

“Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak 1963 –  I remember when the library got a copy of this.  It was big and had magical pictures.  I was so excited to check it out.

Your turn!  What was your favorite book as a kid?

Stay positive & love your life!



Listening to:  The Aggrolites – Enemy Dub

Eating:  Tomato, mozzarella, and spinach sandwich

Drinking:  Blue Monster

Random fact:  I was such a bad napper that when in kindergarten I would sometimes have to stay in from recess to take a “second” nap, because me and my friend April talked throughout the entire nap time.




You Think You’re So Clever: A Facebook Retrospective

While creating all of these recent 90s related posts, I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between growing up then vs. now.  The whole idea of having posts come back to haunt you later is terrifying!  What kind of stupid shit would my 16 year old self have posted?  I for one am thankful the stupidity of my youth lives on only in databases of select people’s memories!

It did make me curious to look back on some old Facebook posts to see what I was up to way back in the day.   Brace yourselves, because we are going way way back to:


Looks like I joined Facebook back in 2007, but didn’t really start using it until November of 2008.  That year I had 28 friends online and bought my first house.  You can tell that I was just not that into social media yet, because now every aspect of the purchase would be online (house hunting, closing, decorating etc.)


My friend count was up to 122.

is about to cook a healthy dinner but really wants a pizza.
Nice to see that some things never change.  Pizza will always be my nemesis.
is counting the hours until the Charlotte Checkers are crushed….
is super STOKED that her team beat the piss out of the FL Everblades!!
I had season tickets to the Gwinnett Gladiators (ECHL hockey).  Man did I spend a lot of time in that area that year.
is addicted to Lo-Carb Monster! The first step is admitting you have a problem!
And apparently I never took the second step.  Still my go-to caffeine fix.
thinks life without sunshine is depressing! I don’t know how folks up north survive.
Truth.  And having been crushed with rain nearly everyday for the last two months, I’m certainly missing it right now.
is sick of the rain especially since I busted my ass on the muddy hill in my backyard attempting to retrieve the dead (almost?) squirrel carcass.
refuses to believe her dogs are murderers! Maybe they are like Lenny from Of Mice and Men. They were just playing with that squirrel and now he’s dead
The dogs had destroyed a squirrel and I was attempting to retrieve it in order to fling it over into the neighbor’s yard.  Busted ass in my PJs and was finally able to retrieve said squirrel….which was still partially alive. 
will drink and dance with one hand free Let the world back into me And on Ill be a sight to see Back in the high life again
Hold up. Wait a minute. Let me put some boom in it!
Yea — Here’s a story ’bout my homeboy Randy He was hooked on a girl named Candy
There’s a little black spot on the sun today It’s the same old thing as yesterday There’s a black cat caught in a high tree top There’s a flag-pole rag and the wind won’t stop
Always quoting song lyrics.  Has any time passed at all?
has the urge to talk like a robot all day.
Don’t we all have this urge sometimes?
3 DAYS UNTIL THE INVASION OF NEW ORLEANS! (i’m just a smidge excited…)
So this was the first trip I took to visit Kasi after she moved to NOLA.  Based on drunken conversations with  a random group of girls we had met several years prior, we decided that we really needed to purchase a set of hand puppet T Rexes and go out for a night on Bourbon Street.


It went just the way you’d imagine it would.

Thinks Laura Palmer had it coming.
is disappointed. Why no comments on my Twin Peaks reference earlier? I may have out dorked even my dorkiest friends on Facebook.
Can I ever run into one Twin Peaks fan?  I guess that’s why it only latest one season. 
The point is….don’t lose your dinosaur.
Step Brothers!
Another football season coming up…just not the same in GA. I don’t care about UGA vs Tech and I can’t seem to make myself get into the “dirty birds”. I miss the Swamp.
Yep, it’s still not the same.  Go Gators!
This may piss off the majority of my friends with offspring but, does it honestly take 4-5 minutes to load a kid onto the school bus? Seriously, I timed it! I realize we are in the first few weeks of school, but can’t the heartfelt goodbye, backpack check, etc happen before the bus arrives?
Yum a delicious shepard’s pie cooking for dinner.

I was still eating meat.  Seems bizarre to me now.

had that dream last night where I am back in college and not prepared for any of my tests. I also had a paper due (Mr. Murfee made a cameo as my college lit professor) on a book I had not read. I HATE these dreams! Nothing like waking up with anxiety to start your week!
Hate these dreams.  How many years do you have to be out of school for these to stop?
wants some coffee. Not from the kitchen. Stop & Shop. If it’s not Stop & Shop I send it back. Large. If it’s a medium I send it back. If it’s an extra-large I send it back.
Guess what? I have flaws. What are they? Oh I donno, I sing in the shower? Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I’ll hit somebody with my car. So sue me– no, don’t sue me. That is opposite the point I’m trying to make.

I’ve always been fond of quoting The Office.  Gasp, The Office!  Guys, remember this show.  Oh it was the best!   It seems like it was still on the air just this year.    They just don’t make ’em like that any more!

November 12, 2009 via Pandora
Possibly my absolute favorite 80s song! Love me some Tears for Fears!

Head Over Heels

by Tears For Fears

on Songs From The Big Chair
It really, really is!  I’m sure I’ve posted this song to FB at least 5 times over the years proclaiming my undying love for it.
is enjoying her blast from the past in Bford for the most part. NOT enjoying the cell reception and the state of the roads around here…and breakfast at Nell’s…what was I thinking? I’m totally looking forward to seeing some old friend tonight!

Oh, Branford don’t you ever change.  What’s that?  You don’t plan to?


First Profile Pic Posted 2008

So aside from not eating meat now, it doesn’t seem like I’ve changed that much.  I love how we are so instantly nostalgic now.  But it is cool to look back on things even if they were only a few short years ago.  Maybe Facebook really is good for something other than wasting time, connecting with friends and stalking people.  It’s like a time capsule that you can dig up any old time you want!

Take a look back at your page in ’08 or ’09 and share one of your posts with me!

Stay positive & love your life!



Listening to:  Full Service – Ramona

Eating:  Leftover new potatos with Mediterranean sauce.

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  I buried a time capsule back when I was 8 or 9.  From what I can remember, it contained my resolutions for the year, a friendship bracelet, and a NKOTB trading card.  Even with my awesome hand drawn map, I was never able to locate it after burial.

Five for Friday: 5 Songs That Remind Me of My BFF

So this really needs to be a two parter, because I have a pair of besties.  This is post is specifically about five songs that remind me of Kasi.

Kasi and I met during our college years.    We were nearly instant friends.  I think it stems from the fact that we’re eerily similar in a lot of ways and for some reason we don’t get on each others nerves after a few minutes.  It’s odd.  She likes a lot  pretty much all of the same things I do.  Scary movies.  Check.  All things 80s. Check.  Things that are super nerdy (ie. science, reading, fantasy).  Check.  But probably the biggest thing over which we’ve bonded is music.  We make a point to see each other (she’s in NOLA and I’m in ATL) at least 2-3 times a year.  And the trips are always centered around music.  I head to Voodoo Fest every year.  We took a 311 cruise earlier this year.  And TODAY Kasi is on her way here for the 311 concert tomorrow!

So here they are, the 5 songs that remind me most of Kasi.  No matter where we are, if one of these songs comes on, life pauses for a few minutes.  Because all of the lyrics (and dance moves) must be performed!

Number 5: Dexy’s Midnight Runners- Come on Eileen

Number 4:  The Offspring- Bad Habit (specifically for the part at 2:31)

Number 3:  Vanilla Ice- Ice Ice Baby

Number 2:  House of Pain- Jump Around

Number 1:  311- Stealing Happy Hours

Honorable Mentions:

Anything by Duran Duran

About 100 more 311 songs

Big Country- In a Big Country

Simple Minds- Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Journey- Don’t Stop Believing

Michael Jackson- Billie Jean

…..and at least 20+ more 80’s songs.


So many Halloweens ago.


  Last year at Voodoo Fest.  Angsty zombies.



  This year on the 311 Cruise.

Stay positive & love your life!



Listening to:  311 – Waiting

Eating:  Leftover quinoa, lima beans, boca burger

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  Kasi and I were set to dress up like Beavis and Butthead for the costume party on the 311 Cruise, but Norwegian lost her luggage (which held our costumes).


Five for Friday: 5 Albums That Defined My Teenage Years

As I’ve mentioned again and again, I am a HUGE music lover. So many of the pleasures in my life have a musical tie-in and all of my memories have a soundtrack.  Read a previous post about that here.

Today I’m focusing on my teenage years. This is when my own, true musical tastes started to develop. It was no longer my parents music or a boy band (NKOTB for me), it was real music. It was for me and my generation. It was about life and its ups and downs. Most importantly, it was about rock-n-roll. Alternative rock was THE music of the 90s. And most of the bands I obsessively follow today planted their musical roots in the CD boombox of my tiny childhood room.   90s rock still excites me. The only thing that was hard about making this list was leaving albums off. I felt like I was leaving some friends behind. Because these bands/albums were/are like friends.

As kids, Dustin and I continually added to our shared CD collection with every cent of each week’s allowance. Each album below was part of that collection.

Number 5  Soundgarden- Superunknown 1994

This was the first CD I remember listening to obsessively.  I listened to it every morning while getting ready for school.  I sang the songs while I washed dishes after dinner. I listened to it on my Discman as I fell asleep.    I loved every single song.   I still adore this album.  I finally got to see them live two years ago at Voodoo Fest.  Chris Cornell still has the magic.  That voice.  Fave song:  “Like Suicide”.


Number 4 Live- Throwing Copper 1994

This album has so many happy memories tied to it.  My best friend Andi and I had our first “real” boyfriends who were also best friends.   And the four of us would hang out and cruise town in their pick-ups trucks (this was Branford, so there was little else to do).  It seemed like everyone had this album playing.  Hard to pick a fave on this one,  but …….Fave song:  “Selling the Drama”.


Number 3 Pearl Jam- Ten 1991

I actually owned this one on tape first.  To make it worse, it was a tape I bought at a flea market for a few bucks.  I discovered it was a bootleg copy upon returning to the car.

I had a really hard time choosing between this and Vs. (my favorite PJ album), but this album was likely the first alt-rock album I fell in love with; so it had to win out.  I remember my Mom saying that I wouldn’t think Eddie Vedder was cute if he weren’t a musician.  Well he is a musician and a brilliant one at that, so it’s a moot point.  Fave song:  “Evenflow”.


Number 2  311- Blue Album 1995

Oh 311.  More than any other band in the world, my love for this band has endured.  Actually, I’ve grown to love them more and more as the years have gone by.  This was the album that introduced me to them (I later went back and caught up on Grassroots and Music).  The first time I heard “Down” I thought, “What in the world is this? I effing love it.”  And the rest was history.  Fave song:  “Sweet” or “Hive”


Number 1  Nirvana- In Utero 1993

Only one band could ever dethrone 311 in any of my countdowns.  Nirvana was the first band with which I was completely absorbed.   I bought every shirt and every poster.  I read every article and learned everything I possibly could about these guys.  And when Kurt died, I wore black (with my friend Laura…Hi Laura, I know you’ll be reading this).  I was seriously in mourning.  It felt like a huge blow.  It’s amazing the bond that music creates.  To feel such loss over a person you’ve never known in real life because you feel as if you knew them personally is wild.

“In Utero” barely edged out “Nevermind” because I felt like I had to choose one.  Really they both should be listed.  The most definitive band of my youth.  Hands down.  Fave song:  “All Apologies”


And the inevitable Honorable Mentions:

Alice In Chains- Dirt  1992  Fave song:  “Down in a Hole”

Stone Temple Pilots- Core  1992  Fave song:  “Wicked Garden”

Red Hot Chili Peppers- Blood Sugar Sex Magik 1991  Fave song:  “Give It Away”

Alanis Morissette- Jagged Little Pill  1995 Fave song:  “Hand in My Pocket”

The Offspring- Smash 1994  Fave song: “Bad Habit”

What were the most influential albums of your teen years?

Stay positive & love your life!



Listening to:  Weezer – The Good Life – Live at Y100 Sonic Session

Eating:  Leftover pesto and veggie pasta

Drinking:  Blue Monster

Random fact:  Smash reminds me of my cousins Becky and Mandy and my Uncle Bruce.  I remember being up in Ohio for a summer visit and him blasting it through the house.  And more recently, the song “Bad Habit” always reminds me of Kasi and Amy because we loved shouting the rant in the middle!

Half of a Squirrel: An Homage to Jan

This morning I was greeted at the door by 1/2 of a squirrel carcass complete with detached tail.  How awesome is it that my cat Duben left this wonderful offering for me?  And how awesome of a chick am I for cleaning up the “gift” with minimal bitching and only a small amount of dry heaving?  Seriously folks, Matt’s exact statement, “I’m not picking that up.  Effin gross.”  Matt’s my boyfriend and pretty much an all around bad ass, but even he was unwilling to clean up the crime scene.  So it got me thinking, women are pretty legit when it comes to cleaning up gross stuff.  You know what else women are?  Moms.  Yep, this dead squirrel anecdote is my lead in to my Mother’s Day post.  Bam! Didn’t see that coming, did you?


This is in no way similar to Duben’s victim

I’m going to go ahead and say that my Mom is the bee’s knees.  She is the type of Mom you’d see on a sitcom and say, “damn, I wish my Mom were that cool.”  I could list at least 472 reasons why she’s so great.  But in the interest of brevity and due to the length of my lunch break, I’m going to narrow the list down to a top 5.  Without further ado, here are the top 5 reasons that Jan is bomb:


Now I know what some of you are thinking, “Melissa, I had no clue your Mom had moves.”  And to that I say, exactly.  That’s because she really doesn’t….in the typical “good” dancer sort of way.  But she isn’t afraid to shake it even if her skills make Elaine from Seinfeld look like a member of the American Ballet Corps.  Bottom line is that she likes to have fun and she really doesn’t care what you think about her routine.

I once saw her put on a routine with my friend Bee’s mini-Dachshund to Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory”.  Said Dachshund was wearing a monkey costume given to him by my Mom complete with a pink tutu.  That’s pretty amazing people, think about it.


This is Otis in his monkey costume sans tutu.


Instead of the thumbs, Jan deploys a downward Karate chop action.

And all those dance shenanigans take us right into number 4-


Back in the day my Mom developed a mean Butthead impersonation.  And she did it all the time… front of my friends.  Most kids would be mortified.  Not me, because that shit was hilarious.  And she would start cracking herself up and then came the uncontrollable Mom laugh.  She has the best laugh.  It’s infectious.  You can’t not laugh.  I’ve scientifically tested it!

*She also does a staggeringly accurate Ren from “Ren & Stimpy”


“huh, huh, huh, hey baby”


As I mentioned in my previous post,  both of my parents are huge music fans.  My Mom’s taste is probably a lot different than your Mom’s though.  Don’t believe me?  Does your Mom listen to Rage Against the Machine?  Yeah, didn’t think so.  But Jan does!  Her preset for Sirius is Octane.  That’s pretty hardcore to be rolling to in a Prius.  And it’s also pretty sweet.  This new found love for heavy music is a departure from her days of loving groups like Bruce Hornsby and the Range, Level 42, INXS, etc.  I like all of those bands, but I think it’s great that her tastes keep changing.  That’s because she keeps changing…..


My Mom never stops growing and evolving.  She picked up running a few years ago.  My Mom was the last person I could ever see running.  She hated it.  Now she’s out running 3+ miles several times a week!

She adopted Veganism a few years ago as well.  Just like, “hey, I want to be a Vegan” and then, overnight, she was.  Years of eating habits abandoned.  That’s pretty admirable and rare.


Here’s a shot of her grocery shopping.

And most importantly…..


Even if she weren’t my Mom, I would admire and respect her.  She’s just a damn good person.  She has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met.  I’m pretty sure this came from my Grandma Patton.  She also had a huge heart and a generous spirit.

There’s just no other way to say it, she’s just the best.   And I’m one lucky lady to have been raised by her!


Here she is feeding a stuffed raccoon.  Yep, she’s a big influence on my weirdness.

I love you like crazy Mom!

– Melissa


Song:  “Tulip” Here We Go Magic

Food:  Tofu and Udon bowl.

Drinking: Diet Coke

Reading:  Just finished “Acirema:  A New Beginning.  A Better Way” by: Bill Williams

Random Fact: I love the way shoe stores smell.