Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Take That for Data

It's playoff basketball time in Memphis, Tennessee! 
For the seventh consecutive year, our Grizzlies have made the NBA playoffs.  So there's a lot of #BelieveMemphis and Grit and Grind hype in the city right now.  And, if you follow NBA basketball at all, then you probably know that Coach Fizdale went OFF on the refs after one of last week's games and coined the now Memphis-famous phrases: "Take that for data!" and "They're not gonna rook us!"  It's a pretty fun time to live in Memphis.
Of course, we had to head to game four on Saturday night!
** You'll notice a kid missing from the pics.  He was grounded and, I'm not going to lie, parenting SUCKS when you have to take something like this away from a kid who would love it.  But he has to learn.
As soon as we walked into FedEx Forum, K1 made his way over the window that overlooks the broadcasting booth to try to get on TV.  If only we'd remembered to record the pregame!

The kids all made Go Grizz signs . . . I didn't have the heart to tell K2 her G's were backward because she was so happy she spelled everything by herself.

Playoff games almost always mean Growl Towels on every seat.  Grit.  Grind.  Represent.

Our seats were at the very top of the Forum.  The next day, Mark checked his Fitbit and I checked my phone -- we logged 16 flights of stairs!  Holy Moly, did I feel it walking every time I walked all the way up there to the top!

The Grizz started off a little slow and the refs were kind of awful.  I love watching but I'm horrible at spotting fouls and even I was like "WTF?"  So many missed calls and so many ticky-tack calls in favor of San Antonio.

The Grizz blew an eight point lead at the end of the game and ended up going into overtime.  Nervous, excited, nervous, nervous, nervous.  The Grindhouse was ROCKING.  I've been to several Grizz games and never seen one so electric.

In the end - Grizz won! - it was, hand down, the best NBA game I've ever seen.  Ever.  It was an awesome game and I'm so glad we decided to go.  The Grizzlies play again tonight and we're hoping they can pick up a win in San Antonio then come back and take the series at home Thursday!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Back to School at 36

The first time I went to college, Bill Clinton was president -- and the nation was deep in the throes of the Lewinsky scandal.  Friends was on TV, Armageddon was the must-see movie of the summer, and Britney Spears had just released "Baby One More Time."  The internet had only been around a short time and was available via dial-up only.  No one had laptops and more people had pagers than cell phones.  It was less than 20 years ago but feels like a lifetime!

Last August I slipped a backpack over my shoulders and took the plunge: I went back to school at age 36.  Ask me one word to describe going back to school at 36 and I'll tell you different.  I was going to say hard but the truth is just really, really, REALLY different.

The biggest difference is I'm a mom.  When I was 18, my only responsibilities were going to class and work and studying.  I really didn't even have bills outside of a credit card I was stupid for getting in the first place.  I did not have little people who depended on me.  I didn't have to cook dinner, oversee lunches being packed, get children off to school.  The only teachers I had to stay in contact with were my own.  I didn't have to worry about a third grade field trip falling on the same day as a final. 

Being a mom and being in school is hard.  And, honestly, I think it's harder because my kids are a little older.  I either stayed at home or had a flexible job the entire time they've been in school.  I was able to go to field days and on field trips.  And this year that hasn't always been the case.  I haven't been able to be there for everything.  The kids aren't always understanding.  Just last week we had a, "No fair! You always have class!" over me not being able to go on a field trip.  They're just old enough to lay the guilt on but still too young to realize I'm doing this to make all of our lives better.

Another major difference is technology.  In 1998, if a professor cancelled class there was a note on the door.  You still got up, got ready, made the trip to school . . . only to realize your class was cancelled.  Now professors can email or text to let you know class is cancelled.  And SO MUCH can be done online.  My professors put up powerpoints and podcasts of their lectures.  We can get participation points online.  This has made things so easy for me because.  I'd be failing given all the days I've missed with sick children.  I'm not because I can catch up with everything online.

There's also a big difference in the fact that I'm an, ahem, mature student.  I'm in a small program and pretty much classes with all the same people.  There's only one student in my classes who is older than me.  One!  I do feel old from time to time.  But I also get where the title mature student comes from.  I'm more focused.  I care more.  I don't blow things off.  And not that all 18-year-olds do, not at all, but there's just a confidence and maturity that comes with age that makes a difference.  At least with me!

I wanted to share a few things that have made this transition slightly easier for me --

1) This semester, I scheduled my classes so that I don't have to get up and ready at the same time as the kids.  They get on the bus and then I get ready.  I didn't do this the first semester and it felt like the mornings were so rushed.  This semester is different and it's easier on everybody.  And, seriously, we now have our morning routine down to a Science and the kids are usually fed, dressed, and ready to go in less than half an hour.  Miracles!

2) I still take notes!  Most of my classmates record lectures or rely on finding them online.  I can't do that.  I can't study a lecture; I need to study notes.  A friend who is also a "mature student" told me she thought most professors frowned upon note taking but that hasn't been an issue for me at all.

3) I have a supportive partner.  This is huge because there's no way I could do it without his help.  He cooks dinner several times a week.  He's taken a morning off work to go on a field trip. He's stayed home with a sick kid.  And he's just an encourager and very much the reason I'm able to do this.

4) I get my studying done when the kids aren't around.  I try to get as much as possible done before they even get home from school and sometimes I do end up having to work at night after they go to bed.  But when they get off the bus, I'm done (until bedtime if necessary.)  I'm really lucky, though, in that I have no Friday classes so I'm able to get A LOT done on Fridays.

5) I really, really hate this phrase but I give myself grace.  Blergh.  I feel #sobasic #superblessed just writing that.  But it's true.  Some nights we're going to have sandwiches for dinner and I'm not going to beat myself up over that.  My house could be cleaner during the week but, again, not beating myself up.  The list goes on and on. 

If I'm being completely honest, I wish I had just done things "right" the first time around.  Life would be so much easier if I had completed my degree before children and just the complications that come along with adulthood.  I'm proud of myself for what I'm doing now.  But I also wish I didn't have to do it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Foodie Friday: Germantown Commissary

Memphis is known for it's pulled pork barbecue and you're not likely to find any resident without an opinion on the best in our city.  The Rendezvous!  Central!  One and Only!  Interstate!  You get the picture.  We're serious about our BBQ.  One restaurant that constantly comes up in the "best of" discussions is Germantown Commissary.  We finally tried it out a few weeks ago when Mark's mom was visiting.

First off, this place is tiny and parking is almost non-existent.  Be prepared to park across the street and walk.  No big deal, really, except keep in mind it sits on a road that intersects with Germantown High and if you're eating there when school gets out, don't expect to get out of the parking lot anytime soon!

We were visiting during Lent and they had a sign on the door that said they served a fried catfish platter on Fridays.  We were there for BBQ but knew we had to try that too!  In the end, we settled on the catfish platter as well as a sampler -- pulled pork, BBQ chicken, smoked sausage, and half a rack of ribs.  For sides, we had potato salad, baked beans, fries, hush puppies, and deviled eggs. 

Let's start with the meat.  The catfish was topnotch, awesome, some of the best I've ever had.  I feel there's a tiny bit of authority behind that statement. Because my entire life whenever my PawPaw had a good sell he would take us all, the whole family, to eat catfish.  I grew up on it and I know the good stuff.  This was the great stuff.  So good.  The pulled pork was good but definitely not Memphis best.  Same with the ribs.  The chicken was a little dry.  I loved the smoked sausage.  We all - Mark and I and his mom - agreed that the catfish was the best of the meat.

Now, sides are kind of my jam.  I was a little disappointed they didn't offer macaroni and cheese but they made up for it with HUSH PUPPIES.  They were super good too, as were the fries.  In fact, everything they fried was phenomenal.  The potato salad was pretty close to amazing.  The baked beans I could give or take.  But the deviled eggs.

I want to talk about the deviled eggs.

See, when I make them it's strictly mayo, mustard, egg, and a shake of paprika on top.  I know people do things differently but I like to keep them simple.  As soon as I bit into a Commissary egg, I made a face.  They put SWEET RELISH in them and it was overpowering.  Ewww.  Did not like.  Did not like at all.  The funny thing is, after we told Cady about our experience there, she revealed that she uses sweet relish in her deviled eggs.  What?!?  I love her deviled eggs and I never would've suspected!  I guess it's just the amount you use?  Who knows.  Regardless, I take back anything I might've said in the restaurant about having your southern card pulled if you put sweet relish in deviled eggs.

Finally, we finished the meal with homemade banana pudding and it was everything banana pudding is supposed to be.  Absolutely delicious.

All in all, we'll be back to Germantown Commissary.  We decided we both need to take our brothers on Mondays when they offer all you can eat ribs!