Friday, May 24, 2013

what would you take?

Moore, Oklahoma. 

24 people killed, 10 of them children.

Another reminder of how precious life is.

 Not that we needed one. 

According to the National Weather Service, Monday's tornado traveled 17 miles and was on the ground for 40 minutes.  In less than an hour, 13,000 homes destroyed,  $2 billion worth of damaged caused, communities changed forever.  


Despite the high volume of video and pictures that has crossed my news desk this week, the capacity for destruction never ceases to amaze me.  Nor do the stories of brave teachers sacrificing their own safety to protect their students, surviving dogs surprising their owners on live television, neighbors rescuing neighbors from the rubble. 


I have felt for Oklahoma this week - as I have felt for Newtown and Boston.  We've seen how cruel people can be and Monday's events show us how cruel Mother Nature can be too.

But I've also been humbled by Oklahomans, who have continued to smile despite the devastation.

They know the most important things in life aren't things at all; it's family, friends, health, life that are of highest value.  They stand bravely on the sidewalk staring in disbelief at where their houses used to be.  Some don't even shed a tear while picking through the rubble to look for their things.  They thank God they are alive and call themselves the "lucky ones." Though no one will ever hold them to it, they promise to rebuild their city.  

"We'll be back," they say.  I believe them.

If ever I am caught in a tornado, I'd like to think that I'd behave like the residents of Moore, OklahomaI’d like to think I’d kiss the ground, be thankful I survived, and vow to live better, with more love and more happiness. 

I'd like to think losing every single material possession I own wouldn’t matter if it meant everyone that I love is safe.  

But when I see pictures of houses leveled, I just can't imagine the overwhelming sense of loss that these tornado victims must feel.  I can't imagine their anxiety driving up to their neighborhoods to find everything they've worked for over the years, gone in the blink of an eye.

How do they begin to move forward, when everything they own is in a pile on their front lawn?  Or their neighbor's front lawn?  Or in most cases - lost forever? 

I know all of the contents within my own four walls is just stuff - but usually it's stuff like family heirlooms, photographs, books, journals that serve as physical reminders of who we are and where we've been.

To lose it all at once must be devastating. 

There's a website I found a few years ago called where people from all over the world post photographs of what they'd take with them if their house was ever burning down.  

The website says, "It's a conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question."

While covering the news in Oklahoma, I went back to the website this week and clicked through the latest entries and I thought of what I would grab if I had the opportunity.  If I had just minutes to save something – other than my loved ones, of course – what would I want to take with me?  

No surprise, most of my items only have real value to me –   

  • Personal motto board (just in case it's hard for me to remember after the destruction)
  • Books my mother gave me - Did I Tell You? (complete with her own captions) & Linda Goodman's Sun Signs (I think she might've been a hippie)
  • Dad's Pentax camera
  • Glasses
  • Macbook
  • Favorite picture of my brother and me (big version below) 
  • Cards and Notes (I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to these - might be tough to grab them all)
  • Mascara (My mom hates it when I don't wear makeup)
  • Concert ticket stub collection (I have big creative plans for these)
  • iPhone (I know, I hate myself; I'm a complete convert)
  • Every journal I've ever owned (because the chance of them surviving a fire and being found by anyone completely terrifies me)
  • Family jewelry 
  • Not Pictured Because I Forgot: Passport (I figure after a fire/tornado I'm gonna need to get out of town)
Even collectively, these items aren't worth a great deal of money, but these are the material possessions that I value the most.

I mean, this picture, to anyone else, is ridiculous.  But to me, it is priceless.

Pretty sure @jeffgallman wishes I would zip it. #niceoutfits #geeks #tbt

This Burning House exercise was quite cathartic for me -

With so few material possessions that are truly important to me, maybe I would be like the residents of Moore if I lost everything after all.

I would love to hear what's on your list.  If you blog - post your own picture and then link to it in the comments.  Or just tell me - after your spouse, your children, your pets - what would you take with you?  What would you be most sad to lose?

If you'd like to help the victims of Monday's tornado:

Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.  It doesn't get much easier than that.

Have a wonderful (and safe) holiday weekend. 

Friday, May 17, 2013


I'm behind in telling you what I did on Tuesday night - not because I've been overwhelmed at work or busy with after-work activities.

Quite the opposite, actually.

I'm just not sure how to, in the most G-rated-parent-friendly-please-don't-judge-me way, tell you that I went to see Spank!, The Fifty Shades Parody.

Because in telling you about the musical, I would also then have to tell you that I have read Fifty Shades of Grey.

I’ve actually read the entire trilogy.

I should also probably mention that my book club gets together at least once a month, but thanks to a crappy work schedule and general laziness, I think this is the only the second time in a year I've attended any book club activities.

I’ve passed on opportunities to read and chat about great books like, The Art of Fielding, Cutting for Stone, Unbroken, but someone says, Fifty Shades of Grey-anything – and I’m all in. The girls in the book club that I don’t know that well, which, let’s face it, is most of them, probably think I’m either stupid and/or a huge creep since in the last year I’ve shown up just twice – once to discuss The Hunger Games and this week to watch a play that makes fun of the pop culture pornography book.

I must, must, must go to next month’s book club meeting – aside from wanting to prove I’m actually capable of reading a real book and discussing it intelligently, the girls in my book club are fun, and good company.


Assuming you all have better taste than me, and haven’t read the books and have no interest in the play, I’ll spare you the scene-by-scene recap. But Spank! spoofs the ridiculously stupid and poorly written book that uses endless gratuitous sex scenes to try and distract the reader from the annoying characters set in unrealistic scenarios.

E.B. Janet, instead of E.B. James, is the author, a middle-aged woman highly unsatisfied in her “personal” (read: sex) life, taking an advantage of her husband and child’s weekend away as an opportunity to write a sexy novel. Enter Hugh Hanson (aka Christian Grey) and Tasha Woode (aka Anastasia Steele) and the play develops as a humorous reenactment of everything about the book that made me want to quit reading it.

If you’d read the book, I highly recommend going to see Spank! You will chuckle, if not at the actors than definitely at the mostly female, middle-aged, southern audience and the five men squirming in their seats after being dragged to the show by the women in their lives.


Also, since my big secret is out (I read mommy porn and went to see a play about it) I feel compelled to tell you that I cried last night watching the series finale of The Office.


Though I’m in agreement with most that it wasn’t the same after Steve Carrell, the show still made me laugh and I watched it fairly regularly. I know it was time for it to end, but I sincerely loved the characters, I loved the actors who played the characters, and I love that the talented ensemble cast was relatively obscure before landing their roles and they were all rooting for each other and for the show from the beginning.

(Kate Flannery "Meredith" sums it up perfectly.)

I’m not sure if those feelings about a television show are healthy or normal or that they justify crying.

But when Andy Bernard (aka Nard Dog) said, "I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you've actually left them,” the tears were flowing.

I admit it.

Hope you're weekend is full of equally embarrassing entertainment.  Please tell me what you've got going on.

Friday, May 10, 2013

happy mommies day.

My Facebook feed is already starting to fill up with tributes for Mother’s Day – friends have changed their profile pictures and updated their statuses to deliver words of praise for the women who brought them into the world and raised them right.

I’m headed home this weekend to celebrate my own brave mama.

Besides just being thankful to be her daughter, there is even more to celebrate this year – namely, her improving health and new, twisted sense of humor.


When I was a child, Mother’s Day was all about honoring MY mother – and since I’m not yet a mother myself, it mostly still is. But since my friends have begun embarking on the adventure of motherhood, I’ve noticed a shift from just celebrating my own mother to instead celebrating all women who hold that title.

I am a surrogate aunt to all of these beauties (and more) – enjoying, from a safe distance, watching my crazy friends learn how to parent and succeeding with flying colors.

What an entertaining show it has been.


In many ways, their mothering looks like it did when we used to "play house" – my friends live in nice homes; their offspring are healthy, happy, well-behaved children with cool names and good hair.

But unfortunately, along with the highly entertaining and often humorous narrative of my friends’ adventures in raising a family, has also come unexpected struggles of infertility, miscarriages and challenges to adopt.

Heartbreaking realities that never surfaced when we played house.

I haven’t ever felt the strong desire of wanting to be a mother - if there is such a thing as a biological clock, I think someone turned mine off. But sometimes it feels like a cruel joke the universe is playing – when loving people, who have so much to offer a baby, can’t have one.

"If I knew it was going to be this hard for me to get pregnant," one of my girlfriends once said to me, "I could've saved myself a lot of freak outs over pregnancy scares!  I could’ve been having casual sex all over town!"

My friend was kidding, of course, but struggling to have a baby isn’t funny at all. It’s devastating.

So while spending this Sunday with my own awesome (albeit, a little crazy) mom, thanking God she's on a fast road to recovery, I will also be spending special prayers and good vibes to the women who ache to be mothers and who every day, patiently wait for it to be their turn.

I’ll also think about the Newtown moms, the Boston moms, and all of the moms who might feel sad on Sunday – thinking about children they lost to senseless acts of violence.

And I’ll celebrate the mothers who excel at the most difficult job there is - performing miracles for their children daily.

Happy Mother's Day from me!

And Triangle Sally (aka Kristen Wiig), who like me, is not a mother, but is amazing and wonderful and awesome.

She's hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend - in case you were wondering what I was doing on Saturday.

Friday, May 3, 2013

random thoughts on where I wish I was.

I don't really have much to write about this Friday.  Everyday this week has been a lot like Groundhog Day.  

Get up, go to work, come home, start over.  

And since we're contending with this kind of forecast in the southeast, it looks like the weekend is going to be much of the same.  


I'll be glued to the television at 6:24 pm, however, for the annual running of the Kentucky Derby, wishing that I was wearing a floppy hat and sipping on a mint julep watching the "most exciting two minutes in sports."  


For those at the Derby - have a blast, I am so jealous.  For the rest of you (and me), stay dry out there.  I leave you with a caterpillar with hair that looks like Donald Trump's hair.  The wheels have come off at work today. 


You're welcome. (and thanks, Justin for finding this insanity!)  Have a good weekend. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

summer tour, underway.

I had a music-filled weekend that has taken me until Tuesday night/Wednesday morning/afternoon to write about.


On Friday, I saw Alan Jackson.  Kyle scored 3rd row tickets, so we were right up front.  We made new friends of all ages and sang the words to every song.  Alan opened the show with a tribute to the late George Jones, singing, "He Stopped Loving Her Today."

On Saturday,  I saw Widespread Panic - an old college staple that always sends me into a fit of nostalgia.  They played my favorite song, "Wondering" and it felt like a college reunion in every way.

Two vastly different music experiences proving that my taste knows no bounds.

Needless to say, the weekend was fun and action-packed.  Also needless to say, on Sunday I did very little, except listen to the rain, take multiple naps and go out for Mexican food.  

I was, and still am, tired, but happy that summer has returned and concerts are once again filling my social calendar.