That time I started writing again...

That time I started writing again...

Greetings! I’m back, ya’ll! I must admit that I was a bit worried that my creative lady juices were beginning to dry up and my quick wit constantly “has a headache”. So, I decided that it was time to do some creative kegels, stop eating cheese and bidding on eBay and start writing again. A lot has happened since we last talked. You might want to grab a beverage, here we go. Stay with me- it gets good.

 I lost my dear Drive-By-Truckers loving sister friend, Ginny, aka GDawg, aka The other Collard Queen, to cancer in June 2016.It took a while to laugh again after that. It was the first true loss of someone close, other than aged relatives who you kind of expect to go at some point- as sad as it will be- and you put your name on that piece of tape under the end table you’ve always liked during what could be your last visit. This rocked me. She was young and funny and my friend. If I sit still long enough, I can feel the weight of it all settle on my heart and I have to fill my lungs a few times before I can move again. She would want me to reflect on her death the same way she handled her life, her illness, everything; with humor- the mostly inappropriate kind. Maybe I will be able to do that one day-I hope so, just not yet. I can hear her, “awe, c’mon man” ringing like tinnitus in my ears following that last sentence. Her death left me reassigning value to the things that were important in my life. A mortality check has a way of doing that.  Happiness, like sweet delicious fattening cream, kept making its way to the top, right below filthy and annoyingly rich.

Fast forward. Enter Brent. My new boyfriend. I had a boyfriend for the first time in 10 years.

Connect the dots… I got divorced and exited a very oppressive and unfun marriage. I was dating again and the thought both terrified and thrilled me. Upon meeting this guy I had no choice but to rearrange everything in my heart and mind to make a lot of room for him to stay for a very long while.  In fact, I fell so hard that I had to marry him as soon as possible because I had never known, or maybe never really appreciated this kind of goodness in another human being. He was prime real estate and I was taking him off the market. He was my Johnny Castle, my Noah, my Jack, my Jason Sudakis -no, you’re not missing a famous movie allusion- I just have always had a thing for Jason Sudakis. He helped me take my broken wings and learn to fly again, learn to live so free- he was my Mr. Mister. Ok. I took it too far. I was hoping to work in a Sex In the City Mr. Big Parallel, but you get it. He was amazing…and funny! I finally scored BIG.

So my almost high schooler (who might possible adore him more than me), Big Brown, and yellow lab loaded up and hightailed it to Knoxville to start a whole new life. Again, both terrifying and thrilling. I’m not even going to try to lie- I wavered on this one- it kept me up at night. Was I completely crazy for uprooting from what we knew and moving to the big city to be the other half of a so-healthy-it-could-be-Paleo relationship, out of the spotlight of the small town rumor mill that was still churning with the unsavory details leading up to the dissolution of my marriage? Exactly. I wasn’t crazy and that move proved to be one of the bravest and best decisions I ever made.

Brent and I married in a 90’s rap themed pop up wedding in a ridiculously cool venue with friends and family singing ‘Gin and Juice’. Most guests thought they were coming to a party but surprise- I kicked off my heals and said yes to the vows we wrote ourselves (duh). It was completely reflective of our life together and subsequently the year to follow, 2017- easy, spontaneous, and completely full of love, laughter and Prosecco. It’s like we landed exactly in the very spot where we were supposed to be all along and fit perfectly. Life has a funny way of doing that sometimes.

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We packed a lot into 2017: A random trip to Puerto Rico, The Kentucky Derby, concerts, yoga with goats, Highlands Food and Wine Fest, an eclipse, a completely Griswold themed Christmas, watching the Sopranos from the beginning and then talking with Jersey accents for days, so much food, a gym membership resulting from the so much food, and countless adventures. I know that 2018 holds even more awesomeness and wonderment. It evokes a “when Vanilla Ice comes on the radio” kind of excitement in preparation to receive all that this year has to offer.

I felt it only fitting to start the new year with a new blog and catch you up. And don’t worry, I got the sappy stuff out of the way today. I am writing from a different place with a renewed perspective. I am still completely committed to grammar but my relationship with punctuation remains on the rocks. I write like I think. 

I am going to end, as it seemed I often used to, with a list. So here it is. These are my major take aways from 2017.

1. I finally came to terms, based on photos- a few years too late, with the fact that I’m no longer a low rise jeans girl. That 2” zipper just wasn’t doing its job. The burrito dam was about to break so I went ahead and called it. It’s official, I’m all Midrise these days. I could even see myself getting into the high-rise scene if they didn’t make my ass look like some kind of weird fruit from the 70’s.

2. Never underestimate your ability to get excited about a Costco membership. There are samplers on every aisle with the friendly factor of a Chik-fil- and they don’t shame you like Sam’s if you come back for 3rds. That is a place of bulk TP, friends and dreams come true. Some call it wholesale shopping, we call it date night.

3. Having a pair of boots resoled really makes you feel like an adult because A. You’ve worn a pair of shoes long enough to wear them out without tossing them and buying a new pair.        B. They were high enough quality for you to not toss them and buy a new pair. and C. You knew what a cobbler was and how to conduct that sort of business.

4. Technology is hard for me. More specifically the new music type of technology. Actually this is nothing new, really. Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here cleaning my CD’s.

5. Teaching a type B  teenager how to drive is more daunting than it sounds. Especially when you’re like “Omg, how did we even get to this point?” but in the literal “Omg, how did we even get to this point” sense because you are equally bad with directions.

6. I’ve been missing out on the delectable world of olives for 39 years. 2017 brought a newly discovered appreciation of these mouthwatering gems. Give me all the olives not just in my garden or my martini. Green, black, Kalamata, Nicoise, my olive love is color blind. This also hints at the fact that I will be 40 this year, which may actually be what this entry is about and not olives.

7. There is an inner solace that comes with having a true partner. It’s like there are parts of you that are finally allowed to rest. It makes you work harder at life but it is the kind of work you like doing. It also evokes a sense of relief that there is actually someone obligated to donate a kidney one day, if necessary.

8. Bird feeders are life. Slap a wide brimmed on me and call me Ouiser Boudreaux but I’m sticking by it. As pets- absolutely not- I will never rock out with my cockatoo out, but to sit in the backyard with a dirty martini (extra olives) and observe God’s engineering marvels- all day every day, absolutely, yes. It is our job to keep those feathered friends fed. Brent, however, does not agree. Especially every week on his way to Tractor Supply but he will come around. Also- I get my hair washed and set on Thursdays but I’m out in enough time to catch the early bird special at S&S cafeteria and then make the sale at Bonworth- hit me up on my flip phone.

9. It gets harder and harder to pay full retail. TJ Maxx and Marshalls are my spirit animals and their red mark down tags are my language of love. Even if it means finding myself semi-trapped in shawl that could possibly be tree skirt. It doesn't matter. Two words- victorious shopping.

9. I’m officially settled down. Clearly. And I love it.

Cheers to 2018! More exciting collard queens stuff to come! We'll talk soon.

That time I broke old habits

That time I broke old habits