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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Let's Talk Trash

The following letter was sent to my landlord tonight in an attempt to get some things changed around here, because I'm about to go white girl crazy, and it won't be pretty:

Hi. I'm Amy in #626. 

Over the past few weeks, I've realized that I'm not real sure why I pay $25 a month for Valet Trash. I've reviewed the guidelines mentioned above and am abiding by them, yet about 95% of the time … not all of our trash is picked up when we set it out. 

The guidelines mentioned above state that no more than 2 bags of trash will be picked up yet it also mentions that no loose trash will be picked up … which are conflicting statements. I cannot have two bags of trash sitting in one trashcan. One bag will automatically be considered "loose garbage". However, to make things even more conflicting …. tonight, I went outside to find that my loose garbage was the ONLY garbage that was taken; the garbage bag that was in the can was NOT picked up. 

I don't think it's fair to charge us $25 a month for a service that's only halfway executed. I can understand if I wasn't abiding by the rules … but according to the rules above, I am doing everything correctly. 

We will be perfectly content to take the garbage to the compactor ourselves, in lieu $300 a year (which to me could be used elsewhere … maybe a small fee for a HomeOwner's Association). 

I don't mean to be rude but when I went outside tonight, I knew there was a 50/50 chance that some of my garbage was still there and I was right and it's aggravating. I don't feel comfortable paying for a service that I'm doing myself half of the time. 

I will end with a small joke to lighten the mood … after all it … it is the holidays. 

Yo' Mama is so poor … I sat on her a garbage can and she told me to get off of her roof.

Your Sincerely Aggravated Tenant in #626, 

Friday, November 8, 2013

TOP TEN REASONS I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING THE ONLY SINGLE PERSON IN MY FAMILY OF 9 DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Sometimes, it bothers me that I'm the only single member of the family when we all get together. At first.

Then we naturally settle down into some topic of conversation and suddenly the pregnant step-sister shares the details of her birthing plan and why it's better to go natural even if it means splitting your lady parts in half forever. And then the other step-people with babies are wiping up vom, snot and dirt and literally sticking their noses into a dirty diaper just to confirm that the feces does in fact exist. Then the horror stories of in-laws start to escalate including the story of a mother-in-law sending pajama jeans as an actual, genuine Christmas gift, and I find myself thinking ... "Okay. Exactly why does this bother me again?"

It's a slow day at work today, and I'm counting up all my vacation days, trying how to best divide them up between Thanksgiving & Christmas. Then, I actually starting thinking about Thanksgiving & Christmas. About the baby stickiness. And the arguing with the significant other over family members. And whose turn it is to do any and everything.

 And I think for the first time EVER .... I am excited to be the only single person in my family of 9 during the holidays this year. And here's why:

1. I don't have to pretend I like a present that is actually the worst thing I've ever seen.
2. And the money I save not buying something for a bro ... goes in my "Buy Whatever You Want, Amy, Because You Are So Awesome & Pretty" bucket.
3. Bring on the garlic-y and onion-y dishes for minty freshness is not a concern.
4. And for that matter, bring on that second piece of pound cake because, why the crap not?
5. And that fourth glass of wine.
6. I can go the whole holiday season without saving my legs ... and no one would ever know. And that is a beautiful thing.
7. In-Laws. Because I'm the worst at faking smiles and happiness.
8. Blasting "All I Want for Christmas is You" as loud and as long as I want without any groaning or judging
9. I get to be the one holding the dog in all the family photos. Always a pleasure.
10. What if I like wearing my grandma Christmas, snowflake panties and socks?

Thus far, I haven't met anyone worth giving up all the above. And until then, I'm going to bask in all its glory while drinking a fourth glass of wine in my snowflake panties and reindeer socks.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Plant a Seed, Plant a Flower, Plant a Rose

I’ve had a handful of TOP moments in my life –

Rolling Toomer’s Corner the night we won the National Championship
Receiving my acceptance letter from Auburn, and my acceptance phone call for grad school at Alabama
Meeting Celine Dion at Disney World
Watching the space rocket launch into the night at the Kennedy Space Center
Turning the corner on a street in Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower

Those all pale in comparison to Monday night. 

video
Back in July, it was announced that Mumford & Sons AND Hanson were going to be in Birmingham on the same night. Talk about a hard decision to make. Mumford & Sons – such a great band with a lot of talent and awesome music. But after much consideration, it hit me that Hanson and I go way back … we have a history. I was making it way harder then it needed to be … when the answer should have been obvious all along.

My inner 8-year-old had a come apart. All my childhood fantasies came true, well sorta. I’m not exaggerating when I say that all those exact same disgusting feelings I felt when I listened and watched them years ago came rushing back.  I can honestly say it was the best $27 I’ve ever spent and resulted in one of the best nights of my life.  

I, like most 9-year-old girls in 1997, had a slight unhealthy obsession with those three blonde haired beautiful boys.  I asked for “Middle of Nowhere” for Christmas that year, and it was the first CD I would ever call mine. I had t-shirts, I had posters, I had magazines.  I cried to my mom about how much I loved them every chance I got. I dreamed of kissing both Taylor AND Zac (I liked them both equally; I had no real feelings toward Isaac … although I was standing RIGHT UNDERNEATH Isaac last night, and I will tell you … he’s turned into a very good looking Hanson bro. I’d be perfectly content to have the rest of his babies if he so insisted).

Hanson disappeared for a while after their debut album and that’s when Backstreet Boys and NSYNC came on the scene and I, again, like most 10-year olds in 1997, had a slight unhealthy obsession. I was one of the few who loved both bands equally and my Hanson obsession had kinda slipped away.

But when I saw that Hanson was coming to Workplay and that the tickets were insanely affordable, I did not hesitate to get mine. And I knew I would enjoy myself but good. gravy.  

It’s so weird to think that I loved them so much when I was little - and seeing them as a 24-year old woman was just as wonderful. They really are talented musicians and put on a real entertaining show. I don’t know which was more fun to watch – Taylor dancing and playing the piano at the same time … or Zac head banging while beating the crap out of those drums. I mean, yum.

They all rotated playing different instruments and each one took their turn singing a solo song. They only played a handful of their older songs, but they each took me back to my canary-yellow bedroom where I would BLAST Hanson out of my super 90’s boombox covered in Lisa Frank stickers.

So yeah.
Bucket list item scratch off.
Feels good. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

5 Worst FB Offenders. & Shark Week.

Facebook has been in our lives for nine years. 

Nine whole years.

Call me crazy, but I feel like that is PLENTY of time to catch onto what is okay, acceptable, cute, funny, not okay, unacceptable, not cute and not funny to post onto the pages of Facebook. 

But apparently not. 

The not okay, unacceptable, not cute and not funny posts are getting out of hand these days. And I'm fully aware that it's because I'm at the age now (almost 25. hollla) where alot of people are getting married and popping out tiny humans. Which is perfectly normal. It's the circle of life.  And believe it or not, I plan on doing it someday. And when that time comes ... when I realize that I've met my future husband or whenever I'm given a picture of the little individual growing inside my uterus or when I need someone to talk to about my insecurities ... I will NOT plaster it all over my Facebook page. It's just not right. 

No. 

Facebook is for pictures to show how awful Monday is.
It's for posting links to awesome lists on BuzzFeed like this one and pictures of super colorful drinks consumed during the happiest of hours.
It's for the countdown of how many days are left until Auburn Football starts back up and apparently it's the Animal Planet's secretive way to advertise that this week is in fact Shark Week (We get it. No more Shark Week statuses).

So, today, I've decided to contribute to society by furthering the effort to eliminate the not okay, unacceptable, not cute and not funny posts by defining the 5 worst Facebook offenders that need to sign off permanently. If you find that one (or MORE! surely you won't be guilty of two at a time) of the following descriptions pertains to you .... you need to get your life together. It is my belief that if you are guilty of one (or MORE!) of these, there must be something way worse wrong and happening at the deep core of your psyche. 

Get help today if you are -
The guy who never thought he'd get married and has to let the entire world know that he is betrothed and that she actually created the sun and the moon and the stars and also the very air we breathe: 


Potential Deeper Problem: Low self-esteem and a girlfriend (excuse me, fiance with the little mark above the e) who doesn't fulfill his needs to make him feel good enough. But that's okay. Because he found the love and belonging that he needs ... 32 times.

The desperately desperate cry for attention, vague e-mo status poster:


Potential Deeper Problem: A lack of friends and/or supportive family members to sit down and discuss your life struggles combined with too many episodes of Dr. Phil. And as a result, you turn around and make all 476 of your FB friends your support group. And guess what? TDK what to think either.

The housewife who has nothing else to do but she makes it seem like she does a lot during the day with her congested list of chores status posts: 


Potential Deeper Problem: This is a classic case of dull lifestyle syndrome. There should be way more to do than these three little things. If you are having fun with your life, there will be some mopping to do (to clean up the the mixers that splashed on the floor over the weekend), some toilet scrubbing to do (because your best friend couldn't handle all the mixers over the weekend), some carpet cleaning to do (don't you have a dog?!) and some window glass cleaning (because no one likes a dirty window).  Yeah, with all the other things you SHOULD be doing ... there would be no time to even think about making such a post as this. 

The knocked-up betch who thinks her unborn fetus is the cutest thing since ET:


Potential Deeper Problem: You are pregnant and therefore can't drink alcohol. So you can't post pictures of your happy hour cocktails. So instead you post pictures of your happy uterus environment. For those of you who do this, GET. OUT. 

The throw-me-a-barf-bag and crawl-out-of your-husband's-butt wife who needs an outlet for her nauseating feelings:


Potential Deeper Problem: The only thing I can POSSIBLY think of here is that your friends and family have been deaf and blind for six years and you still carry that hope that they will one day be healed and you want the first thing they see and hear to be that you feel better and completely loved by your absolute best friend and husband. Who you've known for almost six years. NOT EXACTLY SIX YEARS. Almost six years. 

Sorry if you found this harsh, but that just means you feel a little guilt bunny hopping around behind you. 
Looks like you need to turn back around and hop away from your FB behavior, friend. 

Smooches.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Memory Monday - it's not really a thing, but today it is

I was going through old pictures a few days ago and stumbled across a few that switched on a lightbulb to one of my greatest moments that should be shared with all –

Let’s just call today “Memory Monday”, that way it won’t be that random of a post:

One time, I crawled on top of the bed to wake up my then-boyfriend who was sound asleep and exhausted after a long night of coughing his lungs out due to his mono.

But once I got to his face to kiss him, I realized it wasn’t he.

It was his older brother …

who I had met the day before …

for maybe 5 minutes.

It was the first time in the history of men and women that a guy woke up terrified because there was a blonde girl in his bed.

Happy Monday, everyone!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Quarter-Life Crisis

For the past few weeks, I've been contemplating calling up ABC or NBC to share with them what happened to me the last time I was out and about in downtown Birmingham. I feel like it would make a great plot for an episode in a sitcom and that the world would be much entertained.

After enjoying an evening of stuffing my face with calorie-infested Mexican cuisine and one too many strawberry margaritas, my girlfriends and headed down to Lakeview to continue the evening's journey. The plan was to spend the rest of the night at Tin Roof ... however, it was like 9:30 and way too early for that. So, we decided to meet up at Rare Martini and hang out there until it got a little later.

On the way to the Martini, Janie and I drove past Tin Roof and saw a TON of people in there. It was packed; very abnormal for Tin Roof at that time of night. But in my mind, I saw it as our excuse to head over there early because everyone else was there and clearly it was socially acceptable.

We called the rest of the group and told them to just go ahead and meet us there. Janie and I parked and headed towards Tin Roof.

Well.

The closer we got, we noticed something was off. We passed a few older people walking in the opposite direction of us but just kinda shoved it off .... until we arrived.

I looked in the window, and thought I was hallucinating . Inside one of my favorite bars there were about 150+ senior citizens (60, 70 & 80 year olds) shuffling around chugging beer, hard liquor and house wines, complete with all their accessories: walking canes, electric wheelchairs, oxygen masks, the works. I looked like a sorority or fraternity house party gone way wrong.

All of a sudden, a combination of ultimate defeat and intense rage began to ripple within my person. I stormed (Janie would agree that "stormed" is a good verb here; I was quite upset) to the bouncer and the following conversation transpired:

Me: "Um. Xcuse. What in the world is going on here?!"

Bouncer Bro: "Yeahhhhh. They are from some retirement home around here, and they are celebrating one of their birthdays. But, don't worry.  They won't be here all night."

Me: "Well, when exactly are they leaving? Because there is NO WAY ON THIS PLANET I am walking in there with this situation. Nope."

Bouncer Bro (who at this point is both humored at my conflict and wanting to calm me down at the same time): "Look, look. Come here. Give me your hand. It's going to be okay."

He then proceeded to mark my hand, indicating that he was giving me a free cover.

Bouncer Bro: "Come back later, and you won't have to pay cover."

Janie, who was quite embarrassed by my behavior, also got her hand marked, thanked him and pushed me away from the scene. Hindsight, I probably shouldn't have been as upset because it wasn't the bouncer's fault ... but I want to tell myself he understood I was just mad at the situation.  Poor guy.

We walked back down to the Martini, warning everyone we ran into to not go to the Tin Roof (which was great because I consider that my community service for the year).

For a hot minute, I thought it was socially acceptable to hang with the seniors at Tin Roof at 9:30 on a Friday night. The experience is now referred to as "The Quarter-Life Crisis" - because it really truly was.



Monday, July 1, 2013

Six

Tomorrow marks my 6th month anniversary working at blr | further. Hard to believe, but it's true.

If you know me at all, you know how much I love my job and what all I had to go through to get here. I know I've said this a million times, but I believe deep down everything that happened at Strong happened so I would appreciate every aspect of the job I have now. If you don't know the story, feel free to message, e-mail, text, whatever. It's a fun one.

I'm a very lucky, very richly blessed girl in so many incredible ways but I'm probably most thankful that that I don't dread waking up in the mornings to head off to work anymore.  I know from first-hand experience how awful it is to not want to wake up and get out of bed because you are stuck in a job you that genuinely hate. If you hate your job, then you are probably not a very happy person.

But, that's no longer my situation, thank goodness! Sooooo, let's kick off the celebrating with a list, shall we? Who doesn't like a good list?

Six Reasons Why I Love My Job
(in no particular order)

1. I know that my superiors have confidence in me and my abilities.
2. I enjoy the personalities of my co-workers and think I can say I have developed friendships with them.
3. I feel confident in my assignments and finally am at a point where I feel like I have grasp of what I'm doing.
4. I love seeing the finished product of something I had a hand in helping complete, even if its just a small contribution.
5. My writing skills will never diminish. Ever. God bless those work orders!
6. It exposes me to all kinds of different companies and people around the country. If I were to ever get stranded in Jonesboro, Arkansas ... I'd know who to call!

Happy Fourth of July Week!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Breakfast

I normally eat Multi-Grain Cheerios for breakfast. Like, everyday.

But yesterday morning, I woke up and wanted something way more fattening and tasty than that.

So I dug around in our freezer and found a couple of frozen french toast sticks leftover. Perfect.

I put them in the microwave, pressed the start button and gathered my syrup and utensils.

When the buzzer when off on the microwave, I opened the door and had a moment.

They weren't french toast sticks.

They were fish sticks.

So there's that.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

3-days and blah

Okay so here's what happened with the diet:

I followed day one and day two perfectly, with only one exception. There were a couple of things I just didn't eat because I didn't want it. And you can't really count NOT eating something as cheating. So, yes. I followed it perfectly.

And then day three happened. And everything went downhill.

On day three, my office had Zoe's called in for lunch - that was the day I was supposed to have two slices of bacon and one slice of bread for lunch (originally I think I was supposed to have 2 ounces of nuts or something, but I decided to use the bacon substitute at the last minute).

When Zoe's arrived at the office, I didn't go near the kitchen until everyone had eaten and everything was put away. I then proceeded to heat up my bacon in the microwave while I gobbled up my pathetic slice of bread.

A few of my co-workers sensed the bacon-y smell floating around the office and questioned what in the world it could be ... because who brings bacon to an office? I automatically started to question the smell with them as I quickly shoved the bacon pieces into my mouth to destroy the evidence. Pretty sure that's the first and last time the blr | further microwave will greet bacon slices again.

Around 3:00 pm, I stood up from my chair to go do something, and I immediately felt like I was either 1) going to faint 2) throw up or 3) die. I made my way into the kitchen and found two little pita breads to get me through the rest of the day.

Around 5:00 pm, I received a text message from my friend, Rachel, letting me know she was excited about watching MadMen that night and that she had dinner waiting on me.

Whoops.

I completely forgot about those plans. And there was no way I was going to text her back and say, "Ohhh, yeah. About that. I'm on a 3-day diet that's probably not going to work so I can't eat the food that you so generously made for me."

Thankfully, Rachel is a very health conscious person and made some nicely baked chicken with vegetables and rice - it was quite good ... but to me, I was so completely famished that it tasted like what I imagine happiness would taste like if it had flavor.  Divine.

So upon the next morning's dawn (actually closer to 7:10 am, the time I wake up every morning. I couldn't tell you what dawn looks like), I made the dreaded walk to the scale.

4 pounds lost.
4 pounds lost in 3 days - which everyone keeps saying is actually pretty good.

And I haven't weighed in since, but I'm pretty sure that it's all completely back due to the pizza and alcohol and mexican food I've ingested this last week.

Whatever.

And just what was the lesson I learned: Diets are stupid, and food is the best.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

3-days & 10 pounds

So, I wasn't really happy with how I looked in a bathing suit during Memorial Day weekend at the beach. 

And I like food too much and am too lazy to go into a full out diet. 

So I did some research and found ... the 3-day diet. 

Perfection. I can be miserably miserable for a few days in an effort to lose 10 days. 

Day 1 started today. Menu includes:

Breakfast- 
1/2 grapefruit
1 slice of toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

Lunch-
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
1 slice of bread

Dinner-
3 ounces of chicken
1 cup of green beans
1/2 a banana
1 apple 
1 cup of vanilla ice cream 

And then Day 2 includes:

Breakfast-
1 egg
1 slice of toast
1/2 a banana

Lunch-
2 ounces of ham
5 saltine crackers
1/4 cup of peanuts

Dinner-
2 hot dogs 
1 cup of broccoli
1 whole bell pepper
1/2 banana 
1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream 

And the third and final day includes:

Breakfast-
5 saltine crackers
2 eggs
1 apple

Lunch-
1/4 cup peanuts
1 slice of bread

Dinner-
4 ounces of chicken
1/2 banana 
1 cup of vanilla ice cream 

and then BOOM! You're ten pounds lighter. 

Yeah, I know it sounds stupid and dumb and that if I do lose ten pounds, I'll just gain it all back. 

But I'm a pretty stubborn person and am going to follow it exactly to see what happens.

Results to follow. 

Happy Sunday.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beyond Measure

"Anything in life worth having is worth working for" - Andrew Carneige

I don't know who Andrew Carneige is or what he did for a living ... but, he must have been a man full of wisdom.

I just don't know if there has been or ever will be a more true statement ever uttered.

I've gone from http://giftsinmylife.blogspot.com/2012/09/sketch.html

to



all within seven months. I'm blessed beyond measure. And I know that.

Not only have I learned that the best things in life are the result of hard work ... but, everything happens when it's supposed to happen and there's a reason behind it. 

Tonight, I'm counting my blessings and smiling from ear to ear each time I look at that business card. It's so incredibly cheesy, but that card is a symbol of 5 years of hard work and and serious studying ... not to mention an insane job hunt process and a brutal first "big-girl" job (If you don't know the story, just ask. It's a good one ... and by good, I mean awful).

I'm guilty of doing more complaining in the brutal moments than showing gratitude in the good moments. I need to stop that. 

Life is good. And I'm recognizing it. And I'm thankful. 






Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Excuse

This weekend, I realized that there is one excuse that can get you out of any situation. Be it awkward, uncomfortable, unwanted, weird, boring, unpleasant ... it can always remove you (temporarily) from any situation you might choose.

I don't understand how I am 24 years old and just now coming to my senses about this.

I had a moment this weekend where I used this excuse to remove myself from the dance floor of sky bar where a guy I met 15 minutes prior was behaving as though we knew each other for a long time and in a very deep, meaningful way. It was not pleasant or enjoyable, and I needed out. So I announced to him and my friends around me ... "I gotta pee".

I absolutely did not have to pee, as I had peed 15 minutes prior. But I walked away like I had to and instead went outside, sat down and made brand new friends with complete strangers who did not put their body parts on me! Imagine!

But as I sat there, it dawned on me that I had just used my kidneys for something not urinary related. I had used them for escape ... and I could use it for escape over and over and over again if I wanted to.

And I intend on doing so whenever needed.

It's amazing what the human body is capable of, is it not?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stupid Regions Field Part 2

Let it be known that I received the following comment on the previous post about Regions Field: 


"i have to argue that you are way off the mark with this post. I agree that Birmingham could use some touch ups and maybe it wasn't the best idea to invest so much on the city dime, but Regions Field is the catalyst for uniting the rising downtown community you claim doesn't exist. You believe that coffee shops and grocery stores are whats missing....ever been to second row??? Ever noticed Cityville on 20th ST??? The loft district is the most sought after real estate market in the city behind Crestwood, despite your suburban view of the area being "sketchy". You say we need a museum. The BMA is one the most highly recognized art collection and exhibit holders in the country. An article was published yesterday in the LA Times praising Birmingham for our parks, landmarks, and art museum. Make the BJCC a dome you say..ok La La..make a dome, buy a beluga whale, then you can sleep better at night thinking that Birmingham is just like Atlanta, or L-ville, or Chattanooga... We have a chance to redefine Birmingham through baseball, local beer, world class cuisine, and a new generation of progressive citizens devoted to seeing this city succeed. We dont need to try and mold ourselves into something that already exists a few hours down the interstate. As for your JCrew and outlet malls.... Go shop at the galleria or the summit you spoiled little child! Your statements show that you have no connection to this city and clearly you do not understand what the citizens of the downtown area, those of us who live and work here, want to see happen in "our" neighborhood. There are a great number of people and local businesses who have united over the past 5 years to motivate change in our city. Even though you may think its a bad idea, this park means more than words can express to those of us who have actually invested our time and money into creating a sense of community and progress in the area. The problem with Birmingham is not stupid Regions Field, its stupid Amy Barton and her narrow minded assault on other peoples efforts to progress and improve."

What a colorful character, don't you think? Shame we can't give credit where credit is due ... mystery commenter has a pseudonym. Way to be proud of your argument, bro. 

For the record, this blog is merely a vehicle to express my thoughts, adventures and opinions.  If you don't like it or agree with it, make sure you lock the door on your way out. 

Happy Saturday, Everyone!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stupid Regions Field

Birmingham has a new Regions Field in the downtown area.
To the tune of $64 million, according to the very reliable wikipedia.com 

That.
Is.
Ridiculous.

Are we that spoiled that a 24 year old Hoover Met just wasn't cutting it anymore? I don't understand, and I'm very angry that my tax dollars went to the construction of this monstrosity. And you should be too.

Birmingham lacks several metropolitan elements and falls short of other southern cities like Atlanta, Nashville, Charleston, Savannah ... even Louisville, Kentucky holds its ground better than Birmingham, I'd argue! (Granted, I have only visited Louisville for one whole day for a job interview but I did have the chance to drive around and L-ville is what's up!)

I cannot help but think of all the other things I would have had the city spend that $64 million on had I had a say in the matter. I really honestly think that money could have been put to better use in making Birmingham a better place to live and visit. I mean come on.

Why not ... update the downtown area so it wouldn't be so sketchy for people to live down there? Make grocery stores and restaurants and coffee shops and bookstores all within walking distance and create a little downtown community. What would be wrong with that? Shoot, I'd love to live downtown if it had that kind of feel to it.

Why not ... update the civic center to be more like the Philips Arena in Atlanta? Philips is so incredibly nice with indoor restaurants and stores, bars, the works. I'd pay a little more to drive the 2 hours to Atlanta just because their venue is better. The BJCC is a joke.

Why not ... make the BJCC a dome! That'd be cool.

Why not ... give us Birmingham residents a better outlet mall than the horrible Shops at River Grand in Leeds. It's only good for its Loft and Brook Brothers. I mean, at least give us a JCrew! Come on.

Why not ... decide that NY and DC shouldn't be the only ones with a non-sketchy public transportation system. I mean, I know Birmingham isn't as big as those two cities ... but what would it hurt?!

Why not ... put some of that $64 million into making our airport ever better?! I know that it just had a makeover but I'm sure, especially considering what happened with that poor family and their little boy, that $$ in the airport could go towards something needed.

Why not ... build an aquarium or really cool museum of some sort? Give people a reason to come visit Birmingham! I mean, what is there really to do if you come here on a business trip and want a little r&r between meetings? Pretty much all you can do is visit Vulcan and grab a beer at Avondale Brewery. Although two very unique Birmingham experiences, they don't stack up to a Nash-Vegas or Hot-Lanta evening to a visitor.

Why not ... Or better yet ... give us a friggin amusement park! Something legit like a Six Flags. I can't see anyone complaining about that. If you would, I cannot see us continuing our friendship.

Why not ... do something and make 280 a more pleasant highway on which to drive on. Do I even need to explain the reasons for this? No. No, I do not.

I'm sure I could think of several more things that Birmingham could do with $64 million dollars, but it's 9:30 and very close to my bedtime.

I mentioned on Facebook earlier that I should run for city council and get things changed around here. I AM in advertising, you know. I'm confident (with the help of my co-workers) that we could put a very convincing campaign together.

I'll think it over and get back to you.





Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ace, TJ & Gump

I have developed a strong liking for The Ace & TJ Show during my morning drive to work.

They are very entertaining, and I oftentimes find myself laughing out loud at their ridiculous conversations.

For example, they had a guy visiting the show, and he was talking about his new weight loss program ... water aerobics. He was describing the class he attends in the mornings at the local YMCA with the rest of his classmates, lots of older elderly ladies. And something was said about their bathing suits and Ace goes, "Lots of floating skirts in the pool I'm sure, right?", and I was dying right there in the car by myself. (After re-reading that, I realize I did a poor job describing it but it was really funny).

Anyway, as I got closer and closer to work last Friday, they were beginning a segment called "Bet no one's listening who...". Their prediction that morning was that no one would call in and tell a story of how they had fallen in love with someone they met in traffic.  Because, who does that? I had to stop myself from calling in ...

Now, obviously I haven't fallen in love with anyone I met in traffic.

But I have had dinner with someone I met in traffic.

The story goes like this ...

I believe it was the summer of 2010 and my sister, my friend and I were heading up to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for July 4th. My mom and coach G were in a separate car and I drove my sister, my friend and myself in my car.

When we finally got off the interstate and into Pigeon Forge, we hit some serious traffic. Like, the bumper to bumper kind. Not too long into our traffic jam, I looked over to my left and there was a super cute boy driving a super huge truck, and he was smiling at me. And then he rolled down his window.

And I rolled down my window.

I remember the conversation like it was yesterday.

"Hey are you Amy?" - boy
"Um, yes. How did you know that?" - me
"Your car tag. Hey what're you doing tonight?" - boy (my car tag has my name in it; super unsafe, yes)
"Not sure yet." - me
"We should meet up downtown tonight. Can I have your number?" - boy

And my stupid little 21-year-old self shouted out my window my ACTUAL phone number to a complete stranger bro. In traffic. In Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Could I be anymore trailer trash?

A few hours later, he texted me and asked to meet us somewhere. And so my sister, my friend and I got all dolled up and met him out at Bubba Gump's in downtown Gatlinburg. Classy.

Proof:


Now, I requested this picture be taken because I knew it would be a fun story later. But that's the only reason.

Bro had as much personality as the chair I'm sitting in. He barely said a word. It was painful. It didn't make any sense. You have the confidence and outgoingness to ask me for my number in traffic and then in person you're a dud? I was beyond confused. It's still confusing.

He asked us to come out the next night too, but I absolutely was not going to attend. Yes, he was good-looking but he was harder to talk to than my dentist when his hands are all in my mouth. And so it was an instant no for me. Courtney wanted to meet up with him again, though. But because she didn't have her own car, it didn't happen. Maybe I interfered with true love. Who knows?

I think we all became Facebook friends with him at some point ... but we aren't friends anymore (Not my doing. I think he's bitter, although I wish him all the best).

I never did get to hear the end of the segment to see if anyone actually had met their "soul-mate" in traffic, and I can't find it anywhere online.

And I'm 95% sure not knowing will bother me until the end of time. If you're bored and you want to find a recording of that segment, please feel free. I'll love you forever, and even give you the Bubba Gump beer mug I bought that night.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Guilty



Alright.

So after I tweeted that, I got up to the window and the guy said “The lady in front of you paid for your meal. Have a great afternoon!”

I judged my anonymous benefactor. 

I'm officially a horrible person. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Girl's Best Friend.


On Monday night, I attended my first ever jewelry show, which can be another addition to my “I Knew I was No Longer A Child When…” list. My mom would attend jewelry shows and Pampered Chef shows and Tupperware parties when I was little, and I never got to go because it was an “Adult Thing”.

But guess whose the adult now?

This was a Premier Designs party, and I loved almost every piece of jewelry there but because of the prices (which according to my friends are actually very reasonable compared to jewelry from other companies like this), I was only able to purchase one thing: a beautiful pair of turquoise and gold earrings (at $39 a pop, $46 including tax and shipping. Kinda ridiculous in my very low budget opinion … but I wanted to support Brooke so I splurged).

Two years ago, a jewelry party like that with ‘high fashion pieces’ would not have at all interested me. It might have in high school, but high schoolers don’t get invited to those sort of things. 

You see, if you know me really well … like REALLY well, then you are already aware of what I refer to as my fashion phases.

If you aren’t aware, then please let me humor you.

In high school, clothes and jewelry and shoes were all very important to me (which is ridiculous because if you go back and look in the pictures, it’s just good classic ew). I had a ton of purses and they came in all sorts of themes, materials, colors and now they provide me with a good laugh.

I had a tan “I love Lucy” purse.
I had a light blue purse that was made out of that God-awful jelly like material.
I had a pink one with a monogrammed “A” on it … remember when everyone walked around with a purse with the initial of their name on it? What was the 90s thinking?
I had a fake Kate Spade with all the colorful stripes.
I had one with the sequins on it that scratched my arm each time it hung off my shoulder.
I had a big pink beach tote with even more sequins that I carried around as a purse (wish I was kidding).

And I could go on and on.

I thought that if I was wearing a blue shirt then I needed a blue necklace, blue earrings, blue everything and then I’d go about completing the outfit with my Birkenstock clogs or platform foam wedge sandals. You know, normal 90s behavior.

Then, I got to college. Clothes and jewelry and shoes fell completely off my radar because it was a land where all the girls wore were t-shirts and Nike tempo shorts and Chacos; a land where it was considered stupid to look good for class. Why put in the time and effort to look good when a) you can sleep longer and b) you’re gonna dress up and look good later that night when you go out to the bars was the mindset. And I didn’t go out in college so I REALLY had no need for these things on my radar. Needless to say, I had a ton of empty closet space!

I remember one time I went to a football game…I was meeting up with my cousin to sit with her and when she first saw me wearing khaki shorts, she freaked out in glee because she hadn’t seen me in anything other than Nikes in months (ps why did I wear khaki shorts and a t-shirt to a football game? The world will never know).

My wardrobe for nearly four years consisted of the t-shirts, shorts and Chacos. THEN near the end of the 4 years, I started talking to this hipster dude and eventually began dating him. I continued to wear my t-shirt, Nikes and chacos but I attempted to put a little hipster, indie, grungy twist to them which included

-getting more and more t-shirts from thrift stores
-tie dying my own v-neck shirts
-wearing cardigans with the Nikes and Chacos

And when the Hipster and I didn’t work out, my girlfriends in grad school sat me down and said, “Listen, Amy. You’re too cute to be a hipster.” And I began to see … not to toot my own horn, but they were right. Hipster pothead brought me down in more ways than I can count … but a big one was how I put myself together, physically. The first time we ever went out together in Tuscaloosa (this is so embarrassing)… I wore jeans and a t-shirt with a cardigan. He even made me LOOK ugly. Why why why why why was I ever attracted to that? WHY? Lord Almighty.

Anywho. I am now at the fashion phase that I think I was meant to end up in (in every sense except financially).

I love to shop.
I love to shop for clothes, shoes, makeup, jewelry … mostly anything. Except bathing suits. (But what girl, besides those rare Victoria Secret models, likes to actually try on bathing suits)
I love to look good and put together, getting dressed up and feeling pretty. I hadn’t really done that for five years until grad school happened. One of the many many reasons I’m so glad I went there.

And I’ve noticed, people respond better to you if you dress well and that makes complete sense. When you dress well, you’re indicating to people that you care. That you respect yourself. That you aren’t a lazy pig who just rolled out of bed and strolled into town. There’s a reason why you’re supposed to dress well for an interview … people dress to impress … and I so get that now.

Whenever I finally get out of the parent’s house, I wouldn’t mind hosting a jewelry party like that. Supposedly, the hostess gets like $200 in free jewelry and I’m super okay with that.

Just another reason I need to move OUT ASAP!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Food for Thought


I grew up attending a Church of Christ church.

You know … no instruments, no fellowship hall, dressed to the nines for all three of the week’s services, surrounded by ladies who wear lace on their heads who teach all the little Church of Christ children that sex is a big bad terrible thing, always re-iterating the fact that our offering is “separate and apart” from the lord’s supper, repeating the five most do’s of salvation: hear, believe, repent, confess and be baptized …

I could go on and on.

I remember thinking when I was younger, “I’m so lucky that I was born into a Church of Christ family…how else would I get into heaven?”

Yup. Pretty embarrassing.

And I didn’t realize how terrible and embarrassing and downright WRONG all that was until I got to college and decided to “church-hop”, as I’ve termed it. I went to Baptist churches, small groups, Methodist churches, campus ministries, community churches, Presbyterian churches, you name it. It was my own little faith journey that I desperately needed to figure out what I believed because I believe it, not because it was spoon-fed to me for 18 years.

And my simple conclusion was: It doesn’t matter which type of religion you claim … Baptist, Presbyterian, Church of Church, Methodist … because that is not going to get you there. It doesn’t matter how many times a week you sit in a pew. It doesn’t matter if you worship in jeans or in a knee-length skirt, with instruments or a pitch-pipe.  There is not one thing you can do (or avoid doing) that will matter. YOU aren’t going to get yourself there (and thank GOODNESS we aren’t responsible for getting ourselves there, because we’ve already failed at that).

The only reason we even have a SHOT at getting there is because absolute perfection came and took the blame for all of our filth. That selfless act and what you choose to do with it is all that matters.
I say all that to say …

While I was off on my little faith journey, my Church of Christ church loosened up a little…which I appreciate. They now have a homeless shelter ministry, a more tolerant dress code (i.e. jeans have slowly become acceptable), and they actually learned new songs that weren’t written 300 years ago. I’m not sure if it’s enough to for me to back there regularly, but it’s definitely a start in the right direction.

The most recent tie to be loosened was the decision to do away with Sunday evening service and just stick to Sunday morning services. And since the change, I have learned that not everyone is on board. In fact, one woman opposed to it hates it so much that she has compared it to taking food away from a perfectly healthy body.

(Her logic is … if you take away a worship service from a healthy group of Christians, they will die a bad spiritual death. For the record, this woman has posted her views on FB for the world to see so I have zero qualms about speaking of it here as well).

Yes, we are all entitled to our own opinion … but gracious. That’s just ridiculous.

As glad as I am that my little Church of Christ church has decided to let its hair down a bit … it’s because of ridiculous healthy body/food mindsets, strict black and white policies, extreme traditions and narrow mindedness that makes me hesitate to come back for good and consider raising my future children there. We'll have to see about that.

Tonight, I'm thankful for the freedom to speak my mind and my precious little blog for a chance to vent. 

I feel better now.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Grateful & Thankful

The agonies of life struck my family a few weeks ago. My 86-year old grandmother’s body began to weaken and has been trying to shut down ever since.

Now, I’m not real good with these type of things: sickness, death, extreme compassion. I know that’s a terrible thing to say, but I physically do not know how to react to stuff like this. For some reason it just makes me very uncomfortable … so I just don’t deal with it, until it all builds up and then I deal with it on my own in private (Sidenote: One of my good friends told me last night that there is no right or wrong way to deal with things like this, and I know she’s right. But then again, I’ve gotten a lot of smack over the past few weeks about how I handle stuff like this so, I’m not sure where I fall in the grand scheme of things).
Throughout this entire end-of-life process, more and more people have become aware of what my mom (because it really is her, not me, going through it all. I haven’t had an actual conversation with the woman in over week) is dealing with. One of those people is a woman my mom works with; I call her Ms Pat.

Background – Ms. Pat sings in the choir at the church I’ve been visiting for a while. When she learned I like to sing and that I am alto just like her, she invited me to come with her to a rehearsal. This was about a month ago.
She introduced me to a bunch of her friends and then she introduced me to the choir director, Dan Odle. I talked to him for MAYBE two minutes. He told me he was glad I was visiting and that he would love it if I came back. You know, normal introductory conversation.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon.
I get a phone call from an unlisted number while I’m at work. I hesitantly answer it. I hate getting calls from unknown numbers. For some reason they scare me like I’m about to get real bad news or something.

“Hi Amy, this is Dan Odle from HS Baptist Church.”
My heart began beating faster, and I started to get real uncomfortable. My initial thought was that he was calling to see why I hadn’t shown up for rehearsal over the past few weeks. But he went on to say …

“I’m calling because I heard about your grandmother. I want you to know that I am thinking of you and praying for you and if there’s anything we can do please let me know.”
Shock of shockers. I mean … definitely last thing I expected to hear on the other end of that call. He went onto ask me how she was, and I gave the best update I possibly could. And then he asked if he could pray with me real quick … And right there, over the phone Dan Odle, a man I’ve only spoken to once and it was for maybe two minutes a month ago, prayed with me over the phone.

I had to leave my desk and go to the conference room when he began praying because I just lost it. Who does stuff like that anymore?  I had had a really bad day yesterday anyway and really was beginning to lose my faith in humanity in general.
And then that phone call happened.  

It really just put everything in perspective and helped me see what’s important and what’s not. What types of things are worthy of my time, my energy and what’s not.
I was reminded that I will be remembered by how I treat people.  And I’ve been on both sides of the coin. I’ve been treated and talked to pretty ugly by people, and I know I’ve done the same thing. And to go even further, my greatest challenge is not even being kind, but merely tolerant of those who I feel have done me wrong. Definitely my biggest weakness.

If everyone (including myself) just stopped and looked at the world through the eyes of someone like Dan Odle … this world would be a completely different place.
I am so grateful and thankful for people like Dan and Ms. Pat and hope I can be an encouragement to someone like they have been to me.
 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Future Queen

I will never forget Valentine’s Day during my sophomore year of high school. One of my favorite teachers from all 18 years of my education, Coach Welborne, spoke words of wisdom on this particular day. We were annoying him with all sorts of stupid questions of what he was going to do for his wife for Valentine’s Day, and after all the questioning subsided, he finally said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “I don’t need one day to show my wife I love her. I try my best to do it every day”.

Those words have stuck with me for almost ten years now. And maybe that’s only because I’ve never had a magical special Valentine’s Day, and I repeated his words to myself in an effort to feel better about things: “It’s okay Amy. One of these days, you’ll be with someone who will feel the same way and he’ll treat you like a queen 365 days a year”

It’ll happen. I’m still patiently waiting. Each day, I care a little less about relationships and a little more about my job and my desire to get better and learn and earn enough money to move out and be an official adult. And mayyyyyybe get a puppy.
Until my queen status begins, I’ll lavish in the flowers my dad sends me and the card my mom gets me every year. And some people don’t even get that. So who am I to complain?

Monday, February 4, 2013

And pledge to thee our loyalty, the ages through

My love for all things Auburn started at an early age. 

Exhibit A:



This is not new information. Everyone knows this about me.

Year after year, I giggled each time Aubie twirled his long orange tail. Year after year, I waved at every car traveling down 280 that proudly flew an Auburn flag. Year after year, I fell asleep in the back seat to the repeated notes of the locker room report intro. Year after year, my sister and I drug our parents into Haley Center to get our faces brightly painted with a tiger paw and an AU. Year after year, I posed for the same exact picture in front of the hallowed gates of Jordan-Hare Stadium.  Year after year, we stopped at the Russell store in Alex City to pee before pulling into town. 

It's an accurate statement when I say my childhood was largely consumed with Auburn football. 

This week, all my favorite social media sites have been filled with articles, memories and photos of people desperately trying to keep the spirit of the Toomer's Oaks alive despite the awful news announced last week of the trees' ultimate fate. 

Just ten minutes ago, I read a man's blog post describing the one and only time he visited Toomer's Corner with his father when he was a little boy. He didn't really have much of a relationship with his father because he worked all the time. But after the Auburn win:

"I vividly remember sitting on my dad's shoulders under those branches, with my head back and my hands stretched as far as I could get them into the sky. Somehow, I remember smiling until my face hurt. The structured chaos of a Toomer's celebration was almost more than my tiny heart could stand. 

Then, there was my dad. For the only time I can remember, he was not the emotionless picture of stoicism that he was at home. In that moment, he felt the same joy that I did! He shouted. He cheered. He pumped his fist. My father didn't engage in such acts of indignity. But he did on that day. I still remember him looking up at me with an uncharacterisically broad smile. I knew it was a special day."  

When I finished reading, I realized an awful truth.

I don't have any special Toomer's Corner childhood memories. 

Yes, I went to the games every single year, but rarely did we go celebrate at Toomer's afterward. I can barely remember one time, to be quite honest. My dad would always make us leave the games with about 3 minutes left so we could beat traffic and as a result, I'm now realizing that I'm left with a hole where most Auburn fans overflow. [I can share several from my four years at Auburn (with the night we won the National Championship obviously ranking #1 on the list) but it's not the same as an old story]. 

The trees do not take me back to a special time. They don't bring back a forgotten happiness. 

But, those oaks are celebrities to me. They are the celebrities of Auburn.  

Samford Hall, the lemonade, Cater lawn, Foy Student Union, Tiger Walk, Bodda Getta ... all these things are celebrated at Toomer's Corner. The rolling of the oaks is, at the end of the day, the ultimate celebration of all things Auburn. It's where it all things Auburn come together. If Auburn University had a living, breathing heart ... it would be the oaks.

And so this is where my sadness lies. One of the best places on Earth is losing the symbol of everything it stands for. And the future Auburn family members will be left with only the stories and pictures of the symbol that can never be replaced. 

I won't have the chance to introduce my children to my two favorite celebrities and create for them memories I did not have. For those of you lucky enough to have those special memories, don't let them go down with the trees. 

Those of us in the Auburn family without the special memories ... we need something to cling to.

Keep the pictures and the stories coming. 

War Eagle forever. 



Monday, January 28, 2013

Perfect Power

I’ve been through my fair share of drama:

Parents divorced when I was 16.
Mom started dating a teacher at my school/the school’s soccer coach when I was 17.

Mom got married to the teacher/soccer coach when I was entering my sophomore year at Auburn.
I had step-people to deal with and that was a whole new world to me … still kinda is.

I was in love with someone I had no idea was only using me who to get out of his God-forsaken town and was smoking his life away on the side.
My very first job out of grad school was a disaster and only left me feeling embarrassed and wondering if I had any business operating in the business world (I no longer feel that way … but I did for about a month).

But all of that pales in comparison to the drama of learning that the lady who has been your second mother since before the womb of your real mother …. has cancer.
This woman, ever since I can remember, has reminded me that SHE will be the one hosting my bridal tea when the time comes, no one else. She’s the one I called on the night my mom had her catharsis and I was scared for my life. She’s the one consistent face in pictures from church functions of years past. She’s the one who squeezed my cheeks till I was a senior in high school and nicknamed me “dollface”. She loves meatloaf and has thousands of antique plates and spoons lining her house.

…and the doctors found cancer. They think they got it all, but are recommending she go through the chemo as a precaution in case they missed some of it.
I haven’t seen her since all this has happened, but I know she’s terrified. She’s already been told she will lose her hair.

It is my prayer that you will pray with me and my family as we lift her up to get through this.
This verse was brought up in our lesson at church yesterday, and I think I’ve decided it’s my favorite. No matter what it is that we are going through … divorce, broken-heart, job loss, cancer … these words melt away any anger, fear, sadness that this world brings about:

2 Corinthians 12:9 --
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

We have the chance to see God’s power work here. And for that, I am glad.