Friday, June 26, 2015

2004

The other day when I was writing my "weirdness" post, I initially considered calling it "Confessions."  (Mostly because I was going to confess that I hardly ever cook during the summer and we seriously end up eating sandwiches, like, two or three nights per week.  #JudgeMe.)  "Confessions" made me think of this . . .


And that made me think of the summer of 2004.

Which made me think of this . . .


That song was EVERYTHING.

Alicia Keys was EVERYTHING.

And then there was this one:


If you can't tell, I was really into R&B at that point in my life.

And Burn.  Oh man.  I was 24-years-old and every time I heard that song I would get all teary and emotional.  I was going through a bad breakup at the time and I can remember feeling like USHER WAS SINGING RIGHT TO ME.  I do but I don't think we should go our separate ways . . . tell me why I should stay in this relationship when I'm hurtin' baby, I ain't happy baby . . .

When I think of that summer I also think of . . .

. . . My bestie Keri.  She was married with a child but her husband was in Iraq and her son was a tiny baby and we were pretty much inseparable that summer.
(Inseparable AND Fabulous)
(I'm probably wearing a skort)
(JUDGE ME)

. . . spending days at Keri's mom's pool.  We would spend entire weekends there, floating in the pool and drinking . . .
. . . Smirnoff Ice, raspberry flavor (with a shot of raspberry vodka)  I don't care if I ever drink Smirnoff Ice or anything raspberry flavored ever again for the rest of my life.
. . . Working.  Working, working, working.  I was the director of an after school/ summer program and was given the option that summer of working the entire program day (12 hours) rather than hiring in someone else.  I did the "take the money and run" option and spent 6-6 Monday through Friday at the school.
. . . The working paid off because I capped off the summer like THIS:

 


Caribbean Cruising! 

The funny thing about all this is, when I was 24 and living in that moment on an inflatable raft in an above-ground pool with my BFF's brother hitting on me, I never realized just how good life was back then.  I was miserable and heartbroken.  I couldn't imagine getting through the next day let alone the next decade (plus!) 

In the years since, I've learned REAL tragedy.  I lost my dad.  I married and divorced.  I had three babies.  I moved and I moved and I moved again.  I found love again.  I found happiness, true happiness.  I have LIVED.

It's tempting to say I want to go back and shake that poor 24-year-old girl, just knock some sense into her.  "Learn what real tragedy is!  You're going to have a reason to be legitimately sad before too long!" Mostly, though, I wish she'd just have realized that harder days were coming . . . and even better and more amazing days after that.  And that, one day, she'd look back on that summer and realize that . . . SERIOUSLY?  Is there anything better than spending the weekends on a raft in someone's pool (just no Smirnoff Ice, por favor) and capping the whole damn thing off with a freaking seven day cruise?!?

You had it pretty good, 24-year-old Brandi.  You had it pretty good. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Weirdness.

Have you ever heard people talk about things that make them "weird" or that they deem to be "crazy" and you stop and think, "WAIT.  Doesn't EVERYONE do that?"

Like, eating in bed while watching trashy TV.  That's what your 30's were made for, right?  Everyone does that.  Or they should.

Same with being either super organized or very DISorganized.  So are a lot of people!  It seems like most people tend to fall on one end or the other of the "organization spectrum," either bordering on OCD or losing their keys every time they turn around.

Checking out other women.  Ladies.  WE ALL DO IT.  "Oh, man, her butt looks way better than mine."  "I'd KILL to have her boobs."  "Check out that rack on that one!"

Oh, this one always gets to me: "I eat like a man!" "I love to eat!" "I love food!"  DUDE, THERE IS NOTHING AT ALL WEIRD OR CRAZY ABOUT LOVING FOOD AND LOVING TO EAT.  It's not man-centric to love to eat.

Another one!  If you grew up in the 90's then the odds are good that you're going to have a soft spot for 90's rap (even if Snoop did get you grounded circa 1993.)  It's not weird to have to jam out anytime Dr. Dre comes on 90's on 9.  And, gurl, naw, you not "so thug" because you just had a car dance party to some "Back That Azz Up."

Anyway, now that we have that out of the way, I thought I'd share a few things that probably maybe actually are a little weird or strange.  A few of my idiosyncrasies, if ya will. 

- I don't like having chipped polish on my fingernails but I can deal with it for a bit. Chipped polish on my toes, though? Aw hell naw. I'm fixing that right away.

- I hate escalators.  I HATE THEM.  I don't want to get on one if my hands are full to where I can't hold on to the rail.  My children being on them scares me to death.  I'm afraid they're going to fall backward or trip getting off or something. 

- I don't like surprises.  What I mean by this is I hate waiting to open birthday or Christmas presents.  And don't ever call me and say, "I have a surprise for you but you can't have it until ..."  That's just cruel.  But I love for someone to walk through my door and surprise me right away. Which never happens.

- Internet snark sites are one of my guilty pleasures. 

- I (still) play Candy Crush when I get bored. 

- Here's one I'm thinking/ hoping (?) more people do: whenever I accept a friend request on Facebook, I immediately go to my profile and look at it through the eyes of my new virtual friend. 

- Sometimes I'll do something relatively simple (such as drinking at the pool) and immediately go into mode of "how would this play out on Nancy Grace or Dateline if tragedy were to occur?" Meaning: would my Nancy Grace headline be something like "Beer Guzzling Mom Neglects Children at Pool!!!!"
(Note: I don't neglect my children ever and especially not at the pool. I do, however, watch too much ID channel.)

- I cannot, for the life of me, get into "binge-watching" any TV series, on Netflix or otherwise, EVER.  I feel like there's something wrong with me but I just . . . I can't do it.  I keep thinking of all the other things I can do or need to do and just cannot devote that much time to watching a TV series, even if it's while doing other things.   

- I also very - VERY - rarely watch an entire movie if I'm not seeing it in the theater.  When I was married, my ex would always get irritated with me because I'd fall asleep when he'd put a movie on.  I just feel like . . . there's something else I should be doing, even if it's sleeping (or being on my computer/ phone . . . )

- I get way, very, SUPER irritated whenever anyone talks about the south in generalized/ racist/ stereotypical terms.  Newsflash, a-holes: it's 2015 and we've progressed far more than you think and THERE IS RACISM EVERYWHERE AND FROM/ TOWARD EVERY RACE.  Serious, y'all, I get a little rage-y concerning that one.  I'm proud to be from the south but hate being stereotyped.  (Y'all!)

And, there ya have it, a little bit of weirdness for this Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jerry's Sno Cones

 

There are several places in Memphis that are just so Memphis.  Institutions.  Places where the locals go.
 
Jerry's Sno Cones is one of those places and, until about a week and a half ago, I had never been.  Even though this is my sixth summer in Memphis.  Obviously, we had to remedy that and see what the fuss was all about.
 
I'll tell you what the fuss is all about.  The fuss is about sno cones with soft serve ice cream.  I mean, HELLO.  Yes please and thank you JESUS.  I realize there are other places that do this as well -- heck, we had Rita's when we visited Virginia Beach a couple summers ago.  But there's just something about getting your soft serve infused sno cone out of a pink and green painted building that looks like it's been standing on that same corner for at least a hundred years. 

 
We all ordered our sno cones "supreme" (with soft serve) and K1 went for the Ninja Turtle flavor.  J chose blue raspberry, K2 wanted "yellow" (banana), and I wavered between wedding cake and fuzzy naval before finally going with fuzzy naval.

 
They were good, really good, but OH SO SWEET!  We took them home and put them in the freezer and, no lie, I ate on mine the entire weekend (we went on a Friday around lunch time.)
 
I've heard Jerry's gets extremely crowded but there weren't many people hanging around while we were there.  Only two girls were in front of us and we probably saw somewhere around 10 or 12 people come and go while we were there.  Of course, we were there early enough and on a workday.  I'm sure it gets CRAY CRAY on Saturdays.
 

The sno cones were DELISH and we'll definitely head back.  I think going to Jerry's is going to become a "must do once a summer" thing for us.  The prices are definitely reasonable -- $4 a pop so less than $20 for the kids and I to all enjoy.

If I had any complaint at all it would be that there's zero seating.  There are no picnic tables or anything outside to sit around.  The choices are to either pop a squat on the (icky) ground or sit in your car.  And a certain eight-year-old is just way too cool to sit on the ground . . .

It was so good and a fun time.  We'll definitely be going back!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Dads


There's something interesting/ funny/ I don't have the right word for it that happens when you lose a parent at a relatively young age -- my dad was only 47 and I was 25 when he passed.  Suddenly, in the minds of so many, the deceased become "sainted."  

I'm sure this happens when pretty much anyone passes, regardless of if it's before their time or not.  But, OH MY GOODNESS, is it ever more obvious when someone dies fairly young or unexpected. 

Father's Day is Sunday and I guarantee you, if I make any sort of post about my dad there will be people who comment on it.  People who are well-meaning and people who really loved him a lot.  But a few of them will say things that will make me shake my head and think, "nope, that wasn't him."  "That wasn't the dad I knew."  "Nope."

It's inevitable.

It's funny how we choose to remember the people we've lost.  Let me tell you how I choose to remember my dad with a story from my childhood. 

I was in first or second grade so this would've been in the late-1980's, a time when it didn't seem dads were overly involved in anything school-related save the occasional parent/ teacher conference. There was a PTA meeting that I wanted to go to -- I believe friends of mine were performing or something of that nature -- and for some reason my dad went with me instead of my mom. He would've worked the whole day, had a long commute each way, and then we had car trouble before we left. But I reeeeally, reeeeally wanted to go. I'm sure I whined and begged and carried on. We ended up making the meeting. Shortly after we found seats, a girl from my class ran up and asked me to sit with her. I looked at my dad. "Go." He sat alone through a meeting he didn't even want to go to. Because that's what I wanted, because it made me happy. That's just a pretty "dad" thing to do. 

I have millions of other memories of my dad ... I remember him pulling the car over on the side of the interstate, getting out, and BUSTING MY BUTT because I opened my door while he was driving. I remember early summer mornings when he would drop my brother and I off with our grandparents but first we'd stop at the Flying W or Eddie Garrett's for a coke and powdered donuts or a honeybun. I remember Saturday trips to the Pizza Inn buffet then the used book store. I remember him getting frustrated because I'd finish all of my Sweet Valley or Baby-Sitters Club books he bought before the end of the weekend. So many memories but, man, does that one little silly PTA meeting stand out. 

Because that's the memory of a guy who just wanted his kid to be happy, who did something simple (or not so simple. Have you suffered through a PTA meeting?!?) to make his kid happy. That's just what dads do. 

So I'm sure on Sunday, I'll hear plenty of things about my dad that aren't really "him" at all. But as his daughter I know who he was as a dad. The fun guy who would find a sword in the toy aisle at Walmart and start a jousting match. The guy all kids absolutely loved, flocked to. The inventor of "THE CLAW" that my cousin Storme still talks about to this day.  The guy who wanted his kids to be happy. That's my dad. That's who he was. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bardog Tavern

A couple weekends ago, when my mom and friend Tim were in town, we decided to make our way downtown.  In the car I was asking them what they wanted.

"Barbecue?" I don't know.
"Fried Chicken? Gus's?" I don't know.
"Pizza? Mexican? Cajun? Burgers?" I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.

Jeez.  It was like going to dinner with . . . myself. 

Once we made it downtown, they decided bar food sounded good so boyfriend suggested Bardog.

Good choice, on both accounts, I love bar food and Bardog was SUPER good!

For starters, the "ambience."  This place is a bar and I mean . . . it's a BAR.  Nothing fancy.  And, honestly, my kind of place.  You could walk in there in flip flops and a t-shirt on a Saturday night and fit right in.  The restrooms are labeled with a rooster for men and a cat for the women which is pretty funny if you're 19.  Or, you know, 35 and 41 . . .

Now, the beer.  I ordered a Yazoo (Nashville brewed) to start with.  Then we discovered they had PBR drafts for just $3.  Um, HELLO and YES PLEASE. 

The food was great, delicious.  My mom and I both ordered the "world famous" Memphis sliders.  They tasted like someone's dad grilled them in the backyard: SO GOOD. The fries were yummy too.  Boyfriend ordered the "daily dog" which was smothered in slaw and, honestly, I don't remember what else.  It was HUGE -- meaning he wasn't able to eat the whole thing and when I heated it up and ate it a couple days later, it was just as good as it was the first time around.  Tim ordered a club sandwich that had an egg on it (I'd never heard of this!) and said it was super good.  When I go back, I'll definitely be trying that sandwich. 

The service was a little . . . meh.  She wasn't rude or anything.  She just wasn't your typical friendly neighborhood bartender.

All in all, it was a great place and we'll definitely be back! 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Butcher Shop

Sometimes I know exactly what I want to eat.  Zero hesitation.  Feed me Mexican or make it a burger.  I know what I want.

My birthday was not one of those days.  I hemmed and hawed over where I wanted my mom to take me for lunch (and finally ended up at Kooky Canuck for a burger and big beer.)  My boyfriend didn't even have a sitter for that night until around 4:00 the afternoon of my birthday so, in my mind, we were going to do cake and a picnic at the park with all the kids.  When he texted with, "what do you want to do?" I was like . . . AGAIN?  I have to make the choice on where to eat TWICE IN ONE DAY?  Being female and going out to eat . . . the struggle is real.  I told him to choose and to surprise me.

We ended up at The Butcher Shop in Cordova.  It was a Tuesday night so the crowd was minimal.  The ambience inside was very nice -- cozy and inviting.  The weather was phenomenal so we asked for patio seating.  Here's my only complaint about the place: once we had been seated (and, with the exception of one other woman who left after about 20 minutes, we had the patio to ourselves), we glanced over and noticed a pet dish and water bowl.  There was a cat that frequents the patio enough because they feed him (of course he frequents it when they feed him!)  We both hate cats so that was kinda "meh."  We got over it though.  Seriously, though, fancy enough steak houses?  Don't feed cats on your patio.  Kthanks.

We ordered crab stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer.  They were absolutely delicious.  I went with the stuffed filet as my entrée.  Boyfriend first ordered the prime rib but they came back to let us know they were out of it.  His second choice was the porterhouse.  My steak was cooked to perfection and stuffed with sautéed mushrooms and Gorgonzola cheese.  It was delicious and I could only manage to eat about half of it.  Boyfriend's porterhouse was delicious though pretty undercooked for something supposed to be medium rare.  Ever the romantic that I am, I told him it reminded me of the line from The Cowboy Way: "Just knock it's horns off, wipe it's nasty ass, and chunk it right here on this plate."

Our service was great.  The waitress was friendly and apologetic about the prime rib.  Everything was delivered to us promptly and when she got a little swamped with a post-graduation influx of students and their families, she was quick to apologize. 

It's a steakhouse so, obviously, The Butcher Shop isn't cheap.  It also wasn't  crazy expensive, particularly not for the quality of food.  It's great for a special occasion type place and I would recommend it to anyone.  And, in fact, we're going back for a party this weekend!