Friday, April 26, 2013


Happy. Freaking. Friday. 

This was another exhausting, seemingly never-ending week and I'm so happy that the weekend is in sight.  I'll spare you the details of the stress, but instead tell you something funny.

Yesterday afternoon Jacob sent me this text.


I read it several times and waited a while before I responded with only one word answers because I mean, what really does one say to her boyfriend who was apparently completing a drug deal over text message?

Thankfully, knowing me and my tendency to freak out, Jacob quickly let me in on the joke - courtesy of comedian Nathan Fielder (@nathanfielder). Fielder suggested his followers to "accidentally text message" their parents (or girlfriend in this case) as if they were trying to complete a drug deal and then post their responses.

 As you can imagine, the reactions are pretty hilarious.

I completely fell for it, so obviously I turned around to play the prank on my own parents--my hilarious mom, specifically. Given my mom's trusting, laid back personality, overall drug ignorance and inability to text message, I was pretty positive it wouldn't resonate. And sure enough - I sent my mom the message a half-hour ago and I still haven't even heard from her.


UPDATE: My mom saw the texts and immediately freaked too.  But she confesses she had no idea what two grams meant and was planning to call my dad to see if he knew.  She read my blog before it got very far.

I highly encouraging pranking - and this one is a sure thing.

Also - no pranks here - my idol Kristen Wiig is returning to guest host Saturday Night Live on May 11th.  This is how I feel about that.

If it were up to me, she and Melissa McCarthy would take turns hosting SNL every other week.  I'm so pumped.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

part time home buyer, part time idiot.

I feel like I live my life either one step away from uprooting my life and moving away or buying a house and settling down. I look for jobs in other countries as much as I look for available real estate in Atlanta. So this weekend, when I passed an open house in one of my favorite neighborhoods, I pulled over immediately and went inside.

I should preface this story by telling you that most of the houses in this neighborhood are out of my single-gal income price range, but from the outside, this house looked small, quaint, and not particularly fancy. Perhaps, I thought, it’s as modest on the inside as it is on the outside and I’d get lucky.

The instant I stepped foot in the house, I realized two things –

  1. I was definitely not getting lucky, as this house had definitely been renovated and would, therefore, be expensive. (Read: Not for me) 
  2. I had been in this house before. More than once. Mostly (maybe all) for late-night, booze-filled parties.
I was putting the pieces of the hazy puzzle together and chuckling to myself about this coincidence when the real estate agent emerged from the back of the house.

I introduced myself and immediately asked her a question that had absolutely nothing to do with real estate and therefore onethat completely caught her off guard.

“Did a group of guys used to live in this house?,” I asked eagerly.

She looked at me with exasperation and disgust in her eyes as she reluctantly nodded and said, “Yes.”

 I couldn’t contain my excitement that I'd solved my own riddle.

“HA!,” I laughed. “I KNEW I’d been in this house before! I know the guys that used to live here.”

Her pleasant demeanor changed somewhat, and her disgust with the no-named boys that used to live there seemed to turn into disgust with me - as if I’d contributed to the house overhaul that was required after my friends moved out.

I didn’t have to tell her (but proceeded to anyway) that there was no way I needed or could afford the five bedroom, three bathroom, now-pristine-after-a-huge-renovation home.

 I instead took a self-guided tour and enjoyed a leisurely trip through the house and down memory lane.

The whole experience was quite amusing.

Just like I’m always one step away from moving away or settling down, it seems I’m also tip-toeing into adulthood and responsibilities like full-time employment and home ownership, while still keeping one foot firmly planted in immaturity and bad decision making.

Later that day, I saw this amazing picture on Facebook of my friend Kyle standing in front of another friend's house she had just toilet papered, or "rolled" as we used to call it in high school.

Besides loving the picture (and activity) immensely, I was happy that I’m not alone.


Part time adults, part time idiots.

Full time awesome. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

so many words.

I thought about waiting until I have the mental capacity and physical stamina to say what I want to say about how I feel about someone messing with one of my favorite cities.

It's not that I don't have the words.  I have many words - too many perhaps - and not nearly enough energy to make any point that hasn't already been made.

One of my favorites, from none other than Mr. Rogers.


Having a front row seat to history has it's perks, but one of it's drawbacks is that I get to see, firsthand, that much evil exists in the world.

But much good exists too.  And I still believe, no matter how cynical I might become, that good will win.


Stay strong.  

Be kind. 

Pray for Boston.  (And West, Texas).  

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

it is well with her (hilarious) soul.

Last fall, I became a member of a not-so-exclusive club when my mom called to tell me she had breast cancer.

Actually, she never said, "cancer," ("I don't like to use that word," she told me).

In fact, I had to go all Anderson Cooper on her to figure out what it was she was trying to say: that after her yearly mammogram and a biopsy, we had joined the millions of families battling the "c" word. 

Though no one knows when bad news is coming or how they'll react when it does, I think part of me hoped that when and if cancer ever came into my life, I might gain some life-altering perspective along with it.  Maybe I'd stop sweating the small stuff, go out of my way to be nicer to people, or at the very least choose more love.

The last six months have included, for my mom, two surgeries, endless doctor's appointments, and a list of terrible side effects often associated with cancer.  And for the rest of us, my dad, brother, sister-in-law and me, a lot of worry and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.

But aside from a few more trips home and a more concerted effort to call and check in on my mom, in many ways, life in the post-cancer Gallman household(s) has been "business as usual."  No huge behavior changes or inspiring stories in the face of cancer over here. We certainly haven't let my mom's diagnosis steal our joy, but we also haven't used it as a reminder that life is precious and fleeting and therefore we should treat it as such.

For that life-goes-on attitude, I credit my parents, who even in the face of adversity, continued to behave as they always have - with bravery, optimism, and levelheadedness.  Cancer to them, is simply an unfortunate blip on life's radar; a minor setback, worthy of no more attention than what is required to get rid of it.

At first I thought my mom and dad were living in a state of denial, or perhaps they had experienced the life-altering perspective I'd longed for, but as the weeks went by, it occurred to me, that's pretty much been their attitude about everything my whole life - "Everything is going to be OK."

For better or for worse, cancer really hasn't changed any of us at all.

It has, however, given my mom the most wicked (and sometimes twisted) sense-of-humor.


Here's a sampling of just some of her best lines:

On getting my dad a glass of water: "Oh sure," (in her most dramatic martyr voice),  "Ask the woman with cancer."

On who should do the dishes: "Raise your hand if you have cancer at this table?"

On being an advocate for breast cancer: "Guess I'm going to have to start wearing hot pink.  UGH."

On me possibly not being about to go on our Christmas vacation because of work:  "Can't you just tell them your mother has cancer?" 

I did make the vacation, and brought Jacob, which also prompted another classic email exchange that included her telling me, "As for where everyone should sleep, well, I have cancer, so I don't have time to be bothered with that."


I thought she might struggle with cancer's most visible side effect - hair loss - but she's done the opposite - fully embracing losing her hair.

"Let's face it," she told me before it started to fall out, "My hair sucks.  I can't wait until it's gone."  

She's thrilled she no longer has to lug around curling irons and hair spray.  The time for her morning routine has been almost cut in half since she no longer has to wash her hair or even shave her legs. 

"The other night when I couldn't sleep," she told me, "I just laid under the covers and rubbed my legs together.  They are so smooth!"

All vanity is not gone, though.  Rest assured the woman who has always been very concerned with my appearance (examples a and b) refused to allow me to shave my own head in an act of solidarity for the struggles she would face during treatment, a la Smith from Sex and the City.

"No.  You're kidding." she said when I told her shaved heads are en vogue.  "Seriously.  Don't do that.  You're joking, right?"

We went on to talk about something else, but five more minutes in to the conversation, she clearly hadn't stopped worrying about it.

"I'm serious about your hair, Stephanie.  Don't. Shave. It." 

She also asked me to help her pick out a wig long before she actually needed one and she named it, (now the sixth member of the family), "Sassy."


The crazy wig lady (who takes wigs VERY seriously and was not amused by our antics in her shop), kept giving her outrageous styles that did not at all match her lifestyle or skin tone.  In the end, though, we chose Sassy because she looked the most like my mom's real hair.  Like her real hair with impeccable highlights on the best hair day of her life.  A decision, she says, that has been somewhat of a double-edged sword.  

One one hand, my mom says it's always nice to hear people tell her she looks great - especially since she has cancer and often feels like crap.

Only getting complimented for her fake hair has only made my mom feel bad about her real hair that she once had that now is gone.

"I think I have wig envy," she said, fearful her old real hair never did look as good as Sassy does.  She was at a dinner with friends when the non-stop compliments stopped feeling complimentary and started feeling bad.

She relayed the story to me, asking angrily, "I mean, does everyone just think that I styled my real hair all those years to look like crap?  Obviously if I could make my hair look like this, I would do it!"

I died.  She slays me.


Last month, my mom celebrated an important milestone in her journey to beating cancer, and on her last day of chemotherapy, she got to ring the ceremonial bell at Lexington Oncology Center.

Her nurses told her about the bell and said some patients invite their families and close friends to celebrate.  My mom apparently heard that suggestion as, "Feel free to invite every single person you know, bring baked goods and throw a mid-afternoon raucous party right here at the hospital!"


She invited all of the women in her life, and they showed up in large numbers; no surprise, really, since they've been supporting her and our entire family every step of the way - with meals, cards, phone calls and prayers.

They also showed up with large voices - large enough to warrant the hospital staff moving the party once and scolding us twice for being too loud.  I should mention that there was no booze at this party - just brownies and water.  Just like my mother to have friends who know how to party down, whenever and wherever they are.

In every way, they exemplify the kinds of friendships I want in my life.


The journey is not completely over - she still has seven weeks of radiation ahead.  But as of this week, and her most current mammogram, my mom is cancer free. 

She feels great - her energy level is good and, "It is well with my soul," she said in a letter to her friends.

Have no fear, though, the cancer may be gone, but her sense of humor remains. 

"I guess I'll go back to work," she said.  "I mean, I really don't want to have to fill out all that paperwork they make you fill out to take a leave of absence."

She never disappoints.

Monday, April 8, 2013

so wrong, then so right.

Quick follow-up to Friday's post -

I hate being wrong, but as it pertains to the free concerts in Centennial Park for the Final Four, I admit it: I was wrong.

Are you keeping track?  I've been wrong a lot lately.   

Atlanta and the NCAA did a tremendous job putting on a festival and we had a great time Friday night.  Minus the insane beer lines, everything went flawlessly - traffic was manageable and the crowd was large, but not out of control.  I was really proud to eat my words. 

With so many people coming and going, the cynical journalist in me did look around and think for a moment, "If someone wanted to do something awful to a lot of people, this would be the perfect place to do it."  I do that a lot of places, though; I'm afraid I'm doomed for life to at least consider the worst possible scenario. 

But of course nothing sinister happened.  My Morning Jacket and Zac Brown Band played nearly complete concerts - both putting on energetic and entertaining shows. 


And then came Sunday.  

I'll spare you the details, but let's just say all of my excitement about how well Friday night went quickly (and unfortunately) dissipated on Sunday.  The crowd was twice as large, three times as unruly, making it difficult to move anywhere.  I never connected with any of my friends and instead got knocked around like a rag doll.  I stayed long enough to see Sting and then got the heck out of there.  

So, I was wrong, and then I was right.  I would've preferred to have just been wrong.  

Also, I finished LAST in my work NCAA bracket, thanks to Jacob filling it out solely based on mascots.  We (He) had the New Mexico Lobos going all the way, so after they got knocked out in the first round by Harvard, I was pretty much done.

"This was the year to pick random teams," he told me apologetically after I suffered the jeering from my colleagues for my terrible bracket, "I just picked the wrong random teams."

Just today he said, "It was the perfect idea, just a horrible execution."   



Congrats to Louisville and Michigan for making it to the championship game tonight.  I'm pulling for the Cardinals to "Win it for Ware!"

Finally, the world is mourning the loss of two extraordinary women today.

Margaret Thatcher, the first and only ever female British Prime Minister passed away today after suffering a stroke.  Nicknamed the "Iron Lady" for her personal and political toughness, Thatcher showed me at a very young age that women are just as capable as men at diplomacy and governing and effective leadership.

Fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer passed away Sunday morning in Palm Beach, Florida.  The accidental designer became popular while working at her husband's orange groves.  She designed clothes for herself that would hide orange juice stains.  It wasn't long before customers buying juice also wanted to buy her clothes.  Though I never wore any of her dresses myself, I dare you to not look at a little girl dressed in her bright, happy pastel prints and not completely adore it.  My friend Callie wrote a great tribute to Lilly this morning.


RIP to two very classy broads.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 5, 2013

old and lame and cranky.

The Final Four is in Atlanta this weekend - bringing 100,000 basketball fans from all over the country to our fair city.

Hosting a major event like this is a huge deal - a money maker for Atlanta, for sure, and an opportunity to showcase the best of what our city has to offer.

My office happens to be right smack in the middle of all the excitement. 

The basketball games don't really excite me - I have no dog in the fight, my bracket was busted up in the first round, and I'm more of a football girl anyway.  But in addition to the games, the NCAA is hosting 3 days of FREE concerts in Centennial Park.  My Morning Jacket, FREE, Zac Brown Band, FREE, Sting, FREE, Ludacris, FREE, Dave Matthews FREE.

With my love for live music, I should be bouncing off the walls right now.  But for some reason, I can't even seem to get excited about free concerts.

What is wrong with me?!

Is it a sign of old age, or general crankiness, or something worse that I only allowing me to see the potential for crowds full of people, standstill traffic, and general chaos, instead of fun, music and excitement?  I'm trying so hard to get pumped up, but every time I think of this weekend, it all just feels so exhausting.

I mean, I'm gonna go, even despite my less than mild interest, if only to prove to myself I'm still young enough to make an effort.  Here's hoping my sour mood will turn around soon.  I don't want to be this lame girl.

Happy Weekend!  Happy Final Four Friday! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

happy best day ever.

Today is one of my most favorite days of the year for two reasons, in no particular order.

1. It's Opening Day for my two favorite baseball teams.  I'm not going to the game tonight, but I plan on making it to Turner Field as much as possible this season and with any luck, I'll make it to a game at Fenway too.  Here are some pictures from last year's Opening Day to get you excited.


Cheers to cold beers, abolishing the infield fly rule and lots of Braves and Red Sox victories! 

2.  It's April Fools' Day, so dust off your pranks and get to work.  I've been pranked and have successfully pulled off many pranks in my 32 years, but two stand out as my favorites -- 

Years ago I called my friend Trish to tell her that I was engaged to my then boyfriend.  We gave her so many details about how the engagement went down, when we thought we would get married -- she couldn't help but believe us. She was so genuinely excited for us and not at all aware that it was a prank, that when I had to call her to tell her I was just kidding, I actually felt bad.  

That same April Fools' Day, I also short-sheeted my parents' bed, which still makes me laugh to this day.  I wasn't there to watch the prank go down, but my mom said there was a great deal of confusion and frustration when they were climbing into bed that night.  

Short-sheeting someone's bed is the easiest, most innocent prank around and if executed correctly, will almost always make for a good laugh.  I have a year of living in my sorority house and befriending Kyle to thank for showing me how it's done.  

If you'd like to try - here are some instructions, courtesy of WikiHow

1. Know how the person's bed is made normally.  The more you make it look normal, the less suspicious (and more surprised) the victim will be. 

2. Drape the fitted sheet on the mattress as usual.

3. Instead of tucking the sheet at the foot of the bed, tuck it in at the head of the bed.

4. Take the edge of the flat sheet near the foot of the bed and fold it up toward the head of the bed in order to make it resemble a properly installed flat sheet.  The fold will go across the center of the bed.  

5. Place the pillow and additional blankets and/or bedspreads normally.  These will cover up the fold. 

6.  Watch the person try to get into bed and get ready to laugh when their feet get trapped in the fold.  

Even as writing this entry, I completely fell for this "announcement" written as a real news story - Virgin Atlantic planning glass bottomed plane.

Happy Pranking!  And Happy Opening Day!