Thursday, January 29, 2015

So Parenthood Ends Tonight and You Might Not Want to Read This if YouHaven't Watched the Last Few Episodes


So, the world ends tonight.

We have to say goodbye to the Bravermans, y'all!

I have a bottle of wine on deck to help me get through because I'm not emotionally ready for this. I haven't been so anguished over a show ending since 2004 when we bid adieu to Rachel, Chandler, and the rest of the gang. 

Let's talk Parenthood. What I think will happen, what I wish will happen, what I wanted to see more of. You get the picture. 


First off, Sarah will obviously marry Everybody Loves Raymond in this episode and I hate it. I HATE IT I HATE IT I HATE IT. There is no chemistry between the characters. Zero. It's like the producers wanted to end with a wedding and the emotional pull of Zeek walking someone down the aisle so, hey, let's have Hank propose to the woman who treats him like an annoying pesky younger brother! I would've rather seen Zeek escort Amber down the aisle to wed that nutjob Ryan. At least there was chemistry between the characters. (Speaking of -- will we see Ryan this episode? I'm hoping he comes to meet his son but, please, no romantic reunion with Amber.)
ONE MORE THING ABOUT THE WEDDING. Who is able to throw something - other than a courthouse deal - together in a week? And when your daughter JUST had a baby? 
 
One last thing on Sarah then I'll move on. I sincerely wish they could've ended the series with her happily on her own. The character has always been codependent on some man or the other and it would've been a high point to see her happily single. I realize that's not Sarah, but still. 
Moving on. 
Before the season started, it was built up like someone was going to die and, with the health problems, we're led to believe it will be Zeek. I don't think he'll die in the finale. I don't think anyone will die. Though I do wish Kristina would drive off a cliff and take Sidney and Ruby with her.
 
WHERE IS HADDIE? They did the whole "Haddie has a girlfriend" plot and then ... nothing. We haven't seen much of her the entire season though we did manage to see way too much of Max (he's not an asshole because of aspergers; he's an asshole because Kristina is his mother and she went to the Special Snowflake School of Parenting) and Hank's bitchy daughter. I'm sure all characters will be present and accounted for since it's the finale (and I guess Sarah's wedding gives everyone a reason to come "home" because, you know, it'll be so easy [and cheap!] for Haddie to get a ticket from the east coast with a week's notice!) but I really would've liked more Haddie this season. Ditto Drew. WE NEEDED MORE DREW. 

Drew.  Hands down, best and most level-headed character on the show.  Sometimes feel the same way about Jasmine, other times I want to punch her in the throat.  But Drew.  Drew.  All day erry day with some Drew wisdom!
Joel and Julia. Joel and Julia. JOEL and JULIA. In the beginning, I was irritated that they separated at all. They're Joel and Julia and they are meant to be together. But, despite the fact that the storyline drug on wayyyyy too long, I'm now kinda digging that they did have them separate. Because it showed real life. Seemingly "has it all couple" on the brink of divorce: it happens all the time. Their separation showed just how fragile a marriage can be. Of course, I'm glad they're back together. They're Joel and Julia and they're supposed to be together. Just like Ross and Rachel and Ted and Robin. If the producers throw in a curve ball with their relationship and they don't end up together and semi-happily ever after this episode, I'll ... I'll ... I'll do something!
Crosby needs to grow up but, really, that's just Crosby. That's his character. I don't really care one way or the other about The Luncheonette though I wouldn't mind seeing them hang onto it just to spite Kristina. 
 
Can you tell I don't like Kristina? (It speaks well for Monica Potter as an actress though because I happen to really like her.  I just want to kick Kristina Braverman in the babymaker.)             

Aaaaaand speaking of The Luncheonette, maybe this will be where things aren't tied up in a pretty bow. I'm hoping they don't come up with a perfect solution and one of the brothers has to compromise, maybe they can even end with a little residual Adam/ Crosby tension. "I love ya, bro, but I'm still pissed" type of thing . . . all while Camille rolls her eyes.

It'll be over this evening and I'm not ready.

I don't know what I'm going to do with my Thursday nights. 

Don't gooooooo, Bravermans!  Don't DO IT.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Buckle Up Assholes

I saw this on Instagram the other day (yeah, I get a lot of content from IG ...)


It made me think. 

My initial reaction was something like, "heh. Yep. Buckle up and just wait, homeslice. Just. You. Wait."

But then I thought a little more about it. Because I'm an over thinker and, yes, I'll even analyze an e-card some random person posts on Instagram. And here's the thing: in May, I'll be officially halfway through my 30's. And the past half decade has been one hell of a crazy ass ride. Crazy. Crazy, crazy. But, on the flip side, I'm happy. I'm more content than I've ever been in my life. 

The thing with your 30's is that those decisions you made in your 20's come into some kind of fruition. Marry the wrong person on your 20's? Divorce in your 30's. Ruin your credit in your 20's? Can't buy a house in your 30's. Lived off pizza and beer in your 20's?  Fat in your 30's. Dropped out of college in your 20's?  Stuck in a dead-end job in your 30's. One night stand in your 20's? Your new OBGYN in your 30's. (I swear, that one's not from personal experience. No comment on the rest.)

Basically I'm saying, if your 30's screw you then it's probably because of the dumb shit you pulled in your 20's. And if you're reading this and you're, like, 26 or 27 and thinking, "uhhhh, no. Not me."  Well, buckle up there, asshole. Because 95% of those of us firmly in the over 30 crowd would've sworn up and down that we had our shit together too. 

Of course, there's a catch-22 in all of this (there's a catch-22 in practically everything, amiright?) We all say, "I'd go back and relive those years if I knew what I know now." The premise of that statement being, of course, that we'd do a lot of things different. But when you get into that who knows how differently life would've turned out if you'd done a little something different here or there. And different? Not always better. 

So, yeah, the decisions of your 20's are (probably) waiting to take you for a wild ride in your 30's. But you know what? It's kinda worth it. 

Buckle up, assholes. Your 30's are the new prime of your life. 

(Though all my over 40 friends swear that's when life begins. Who knows. In ten years, I could be writing about all the dumb shit I did in my 30's.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dating in your 30's


I'm not going to write a great deal about dating and definitely no specifics (i.e.  He wore a red shirt; was only 5'6 at most; his bald spot was bigger than my entire head.) This decision is mostly out of respect to my children and the fact that they might just read this one day. But I did want to write a few things I've learned since dipping my toe back in the dating pool.

1) This. 


This is huge and it sums up 110% how you have to walk into a date. You can't go in wondering if they won't like you. Go in KNOWING they'll like you and wondering how you'll feel about them. 

2) You can't go into any date ever thinking you're going to meet your soulmate or the love of your life. 

Let's be real: (most) dating these days is done online. It's rare you're going to meet anyone at Kroger. We know from the experience known as our 20's that you're not likely to meet quality people at a club. And who wants to go to the club anyway?? So you go online. And you might have amazing online/ texting chemistry with someone that doesn't translate when you meet face-to-face. It's going to happen and it has nothing to do with YOU. As long as you're yourself, you're doing the best you can. Roll with it. 

3) Sometimes you'll go on a date ... and come out with a really good friend. 

This has happened to me twice. I've gone on dates with two different men that I'll never have relationships with, there just wasn't chemistry that way. But I gained two friends from those dates. One is the guy I can call when I need help moving something heavy or need recommendations on where to sign up the boys for soccer. The other is my #1 go-to when college football is on and I need someone to text shit talk with.

4)  (Some) Men Never Change. 

Even in their 30's and 40's, (some) men still immediately try to get you into bed. 

"Do you want to go back to my place?" or "I wish you would've come home with me last night" are immediate first date deal breakers. You're not getting a second date with that ish, buddy!

5) The only thing sexier than a nice guy is a good dad. 

Obviously, you can't know that someone is a good dad just in what they say but I'm a firm believer in being able to tell by how they say it. And, man, a good dad is HOT. 

6) Just because he's a nice guy doesn't mean you'll have chemistry. 

I say it all the time: nice guys are sexy! And they are. But that doesn't mean you're going to have chemistry. This has been hard for me to "get." There have been times I've told girlfriends, "he's so sweet! He treats me so well. But there's just nothing there." It happens. You're not a bitch or an asshole for not continuing to date someone just because he's nice. 

7) But you also have to be grown when it's time to end something. 

THIS IS SO HARD. Telling someone you're not interested or you don't think it's going to work, potentially hurting their feelings, is HARD. But whomever you're dating deserves to know. 

8) Men age too. 

I mean, duh, no brainer. Of course they do. Women don't look the same in our mid-30's as we did at 19. We may start sprouting a few gray hairs, wrinkles, crow's feet. We have babies and our stomachs stretch and our boobs droop. And we expect men to embrace that and be okay with it (and unless they're douches, they do!) We also have to embrace that a 35-year-old man may have a receding hairline or bags under his eyes or a beer belly. It happens. We age. 

9) Most men aren't phased by kids. 

I've never had a single person have any issue with the fact that I have three kids. And not all men I've dated have been dads. In my experience, guys just really don't care. This is surprising in a lot of ways. I can't begin to tell the number of friends I have who've said, "no one is going to want to date me! I have _x_ kids!" Nope. Not an issue, not at all. 

One other little nugget of advice I'll give: I began dating not that long after making the decision to separate from my ex. I know there are people who judge this sorta thing (heck, maybe I was one once upon a time!) but ending a marriage is different than breaking off any other relationship. You don't do it until you're done, until it's over, until you've given you're all and you know there's no chance to save it. So, yes, I started dating but that was it: dating. Having fun. Meeting new people. My mantra was "a girl's gotta eat!" and my goal was to not even think about pursuing an actual relationship for at least a year. I knew I needed a year to get Brandi back before I could ever think of any sort of relationship. And I was right! I'm glad I took a year just to date and it's something I highly recommend. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Coletta's

Coletta's is an Italian restaurant with two Memphis area locations. And when you admit to never having eaten there, you're generally greeted with shock. And something like, "ARE YOU SERIOUS? Ohhhh. We're so totally going to Coletta's!" It took me five years but I can now say I've been to Coletta's. Twice, even!

They market themselves as the oldest restaurant in Memphis and also claim to have served Elvis's favorite pizza.  Let's be real, though, this is Memphis.  Every single place here claims to have some kind of Elvis connection.  It's par for the course.

My first visit, my friend and I split an order of spinach dip. It was amazing but, let's be real, I haven't met many spinach dips I don't like. My entree was the chicken parmigiana, good but I was underwhelmed. I left after that first visit wondering what the big deal was. 

My second visit, we redeemed things by ordering a carafe of sangria as our "appetizer." I was a little disappointed in the presentation. WHERE WERE THE CHUNKS OF FLOATING FRUIT? But, it was a really good sangria. Really good. We noshed on the {super delicious} bread while waiting for our entrees. I ordered the cannelloni and was blown away when it was delivered to me. IT.WAS.HUGE. (Seriously -- I had leftovers for lunch the next two days!) It was also very, very good. Not too salty, just cheesy enough, and miles ahead of the chicken parmigiana. My friend had the veal and gave it two thumbs up. 

I will say that I tried the Appling location both times and have been told the original, on East Parkway, is overall better.  No complaints here, though, especially not when it came to the second visit.
 
Both visits the service was impeccable. The ambience is on point. Memphis certainly isn't known for its Italian food but I think Coletta's is probably the place to go in town when you're craving it. 

Next up: the barbecue pizza everyone raves about!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Learning to be Single Again: The Holidays

Back before the holidays, I wrote a post about Christmas and divorce that I never actually published. It was basically a "don't feel sorry for me" creed about how you can't miss what you never had.

Then Christmas Eve rolled around and you know what?

It turns out you can miss what you never had. 

I'm very rarely lonely these days. Even when I'm alone. I'm content and happy and, therefore, rarely lonely. Christmas Eve, though, felt a little different.

When I was younger, I had this idea in my head of what Christmas Eve would be.  Staying up later than the kids, wine and a Christmas movie, quietly-as-possible trying to put together toys, laughing while playing Santa, eating the cookies and Coke Zero (Santa is lactose intolerant, okay?) left out for the Big Guy.  That was the picture in my head.  But it never happened any Christmas Eve when I was married.  Oh, a lot of it actually happened.  The wine and the Christmas movie and the putting toys together and playing Santa and eating cookies: that all happened.  But it was usually me.  Doing it alone.  Not going to lie: it always bothered me.  Every year.  Especially when I would log onto any form of social media and play the forbidden game of comparing my actual life to someone else's online life (don't do that; easier said than done.)

I married someone who wasn't sentimental in the least.  There's nothing at all wrong with that.  I'm very sentimental, very much a traditionalist.  And I realize that's not necessarily the "right" way to be.  We just had very different ideas when it came to things like holidays.  Neither of us were right; neither of us were wrong.  It's just the way we were.  But thanks to that idea in my head, it made Christmas Eve hard for me and made me a little resentful.

To be honest, I don't even remember the emotions I felt on Christmas Eve of 2013, the first holiday season after we separated and I was "truly" doing it alone.  But this past Christmas, in the weeks leading up to the holiday, I was actually a little . . . excited, if that makes sense.  My feeling was something like, "I've been doing it lonely every year.  Now I just get to do it alone."

Then Christmas Eve rolled around.  The kids had actually done the Santa thing that morning, meaning I'd laid out the gifts and all that on the 23rd.  And . . . it hit me . . . I was lonely.  Being lonely in a relationship is one of the worst feelings ever.  Being lonely when you're alone, though, is still . . . it's still lonely.  As I said, it doesn't happen very often that I feel this way.  I'm very happy and fulfilled and blah, blah, blah.  But sometimes, sometimes, it just hits me and it's hard.  Christmas Eve was one of those "sometimes."

Couples all over the world were putting together toys.  They were playing Santa.  They were joking around and laughing and trying not to wake the kids.  (Okay, so a lot of that is just the ideal in my head and I know more than likely couples all over the world were arguing.  Snapping at each other.  He was mad at her for drinking too much wine at dinner and passing out on the couch.  She was pissed at him because she told him two days ago to get C batteries and, "Oh, yes I did.  YES I DID.  I TOLD YOU AND NOW YOU'RE THE ONE WHO IS GOING TO HAVE TO RUN TO WALGREENS TO PICK THEM UP BECAUSE I HAD TOO MUCH WINE AT DINNER.  DON'T YOU REMEMBER GETTING MAD AT ME FOR THAT?")  Meanwhile I was on my couch all teary-eyed over the scene in Christmas Vacation where he's watching old family movies in the attic.

It happens.
It's part of learning to be single again.
And it's okay.

And it's times like that where you learn just how thankful you are for friends, particularly single parent friends.  And particularly the kind of single parent friends who will text you with a, "f*ck all these happy couples on Facebook!" And particularly the kind of single parent friends who don't judge you when you send them a picture referring to your wine glass as "bae."



Friends like that make sure you're not truly lonely.  And they're way better than having someone argue with you while you're trying to get a bike together, amiright?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Griswold Style: And That's a Wrap!

1) I swear, every trip I went on in 2014 there was some kind of crazy weather ... generally monsoon style rains which, you know, are always fun to drive in. On our way to Arizona, we ran into a tiny bit of ice and snow between Midland Odessa and El Paso.


On the way back, though, ON THE WAY BACK. 


There was snow on the Arizona/ New Mexico border. The weather calmed its tits by Deming and was actually around 48 degrees in El Paso. We were maybe 30 miles out of El Paso when the bottom fell out. Sleet, freezing rain, freezing effing fog, heavy rain. ALL THE WAY TO CENTRAL TEXAS. I needed a bottle of Xanax. And a fifth of vodka to wash it down with. 

2) I don't care if I ever see west Texas ever again. Ever. Exception: the cute cowboy in Van Horn. He needs to come visit me in Memphis ...

3) I hated driving in El Paso. I think I'd rather drive in Atlanta. Seriously. 

4) Staying with my brother once and the way there and once on the way back also meant I got to hang with these guys!

Nephew snuggles!

5) Trader Joesssssss. 

They have them in Tucson. Successful cookie butter fix!  No comments as to whether there is actually still cookie butter now though . . .

And.  That's (probably) a wrap on our Arizona trip!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Griswold Style: Thank You Baby Jesus for Green Chili

Let's talk food.

Because, really, that's the reason I travel. 

On the advice of Molly (@muddydays on Instagram), we checked out El Guero Canelo for Sonoran style hotdogs. 

Ummmm. I'm going to need a moment. 

The hotdogs were WRAPPED IN BACON. Y'all! They were WRAPPED IN BACON. BACON! Then smothered with all kinds of stuff: green chili, jalapeƱos, onions.  We each only got one then quickly realized we'd be hitting the counter for another. They were delicious. 


We were trying to figure out what to do on Thursday when my mom brought up Nogales, a border town. She had read about some restaurant down there though couldn't remember the name. I jumped on Yelp and found it ... Cocina La Ley

So we headed to Nogales. 

Just to eat. 

The restaurant was hidden behind a tire shop, a total hole in the wall. I had a shrimp taco then split a fish taco with J. They were AMAZING. Well worth the trip. We also tried their flan -- equally delicious. And everything was so cheap! The shrimp tacos were the most expensive at $2 a pop. Crazy cheap prices. 

 
On the way back, we stopped in Tubac and decided on lunch round two at Wisdom's Cafe. They advertise "award winning" margaritas and I chose the pomegranate flavor. It was really good, strong, but I'm not sure it was big enough to be an $8 margarita ...

J and I once again decided to split. This time we went with a green chili tamale and yet another fish taco. J thought the fish taco was better than the one we had earlier. It was good but I had to disagree. The tamale was the best thing I ate all day, possibly the entire trip. 


The menu advertised "world renowned" burros so we obvs had to try one. We went with the peach flavor and ... two thumbs up. 

Here's the deal with Wisdom's:
It was more expensive than Cocina La Ley (the bill was twice as much) and our waitress was horrible. Another waiter was much more attentive and nice and he scored a majority of the tip just for being nice. 

Also. These were the pictures on the bathroom wall:
 

Hel-lo!
I couldn't write a post about food without mentioning the Texas deliciousness that is ... Kolaches. 


I love kolaches and we had them for breakfast one morning. Soooo good. 

And that's a good deal of the reason(s) I have twenty (thirty?) pounds to lose ...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Griswold Style: So I Went to Arizona

The final destination of our Great Southwest Adventure/ Griswold style vacation was Tucson, Arizona, where my mom currently lives. I've driven through Tucson but never actually stopped for more than a quick potty break. I was looking forward to seeing more of Arizona! (I've driven through a great deal of the state but really only visited the Grand Canyon. Oh! And a Sam's Club in Phoenix. I go hard.)

There will obvs be a post dedicated to food. But, first, let's talk the sights.

For starters, I couldn't get over the sunsets. They were amazing. We don't get sunsets - or landscapes - like these in Memphis. 


We visited the Mission San Xavier del Bac, a national historic landmark. It was built in the 1700's and is absolutely beautiful. 




We also walked up the trail beside the mission.


 

I probably would've enjoyed it more without kids (K2 was wayyy too young to appreciate anything she was seeing) but it was really beautiful and I'm glad I experienced it. Also -- I know next to nothing about Catholicism. My kids chose medals of various saints at the gift shop. I planned to just google them but the clerk took the time to pull out a book, look up each saint they selected, and tell us about them. Awesome!


The day after San Xavier, we headed to Mount Lemmon. Now. Tucson was around 73 degrees that day. Beautiful. We went somewhere that was in the 30's. Why?


SNOW, BABY!!

It wasn't as much snow as I was expecting but more than my kids had ever seen and they had so much fun playing in it!





I'm not the biggest fan ever of snow but I loved this! Mainly because the roads were clear to drive on and also because I drove right back to 73 degrees. Snow and 70's? Thank you very much!

If you ever find yourself in Tucson, you must check out these two places!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Griswold Style: Sic 'Em Bears!


The kids and I loaded up Christmas morning and headed west. Our first destination was only three hours away, my grandma's in Arkansas. The following morning we were up early again: Waco, Texas bound. 


Over sixteen years ago, I put on a backpack filled with books and notebooks and lab manuals (this was pre-laptop days), and stepped on to the Baylor University campus. I didn't finish there so I can't count it as my alma mater but I did attend and have some nice memories. I wanted to take my kids. 


It was kinda surreal being back at the place where I'd spent so much time in my late teens ... now with my children. In my 30's. Maybe I wouldn't have had that "this is weird" feeling if I still lived in Waco and my kids grew up being on the campus from time to time. 


Some things on campus have changed, some have not. I pointed out, "I had health class in this building." "BritLit was in here, second floor." "I sat here and studied the hour I had between classes."


A lot has changed. A lot has not. And I can't wrap my head around the fact that it's been more than sixteen years since I first stepped on that campus. 


I was young and, frankly, a little dumb and had zero idea what the next decade and a half of my life would hold. 

Or that I'd be visiting so many years later ... with my three children in tow. 

(I took this picture thinking of how big they look and it won't be long until they're strolling through some campus, somewhere with dreams and ideals of their own; ideas of their own respective futures. Damn. Time sure does fly.)

By the way -- Baylor lost their bowl game a few days after our visit. I refuse to believe my trip to campus has anything to do with that!


Sic 'em Bears!