So My Best Friend is an Addict…

My best friend is a drug addict.

Addiction has left no one untouched by it. You either deal with it personally or know someone who is. The most common and easiest thing to do is criticize or ignore the problem. It has such a stigma around it and causes so much damage, people give up on addicts almost easily. Between that and the ease of acquirement, it’s no wonder addiction is so prevalent.

TL and I have been best friends since the first day of kindergarten, we are now in our thirties. Most of my memories of growing up involve him. We lost two of our friends in our twenties and it hit him hard. He had a back injury from work, and the pain pills helped with more than one kind of pain.

I knew something was wrong when he stopped talking to me, he actually started avoiding me. He knew I would be able to tell there was a problem, and he wasn’t ready to accept that. The addiction grew, and so did his feelings of worthlessness. A downward spiral was soon to follow with arrests, broken relationships, and a lot of pain. Rehab was tried and failed more than once.

A lot of his friends walked away. Most of the ones that stayed, needed to go, they were part of the problem. I refused to give up on my best friend. I had invested twenty-five years of friendship in him, and I wasn’t going down without a fight. I called or texted him everyday knowing I wouldn’t get a response. Once you get your butt chewed out by me once, you really don’t want it to happen again, so he avoided me.

I knew where he lived.

It wasn’t about driving him crazy, and giving him grief for having a problem, it was about making sure he knew that I was still here. I was going to be here for him, waiting impatiently for when he was ready to talk, whether he liked it or not.

He went to another rehab, lied to me about making it through the program (he was asked to leave), and was still using even though he was able to convince me otherwise for a few weeks. I don’t take the lies personally. That’s what addicts do. It was never about making him feel bad for anything that happened, it was always about making sure he knew he was valued, loved, and accepted. He thought enough horrible things about himself, he didn’t need me lecturing him, he needed hope.

It didn’t work.

A few months later, he was arrested and sentenced to almost a year in jail.

I was actually happy.

I didn’t have to worry about where he was, or getting that phone call that no one wants at 2 am because the police found a body. I knew he was safe. I knew he needed this to show him the consequences of his actions.

He was involved in a rehabilitation program while he was detained. I wrote him once a week, reminding him that he still had people who cared about him, no matter how much I wanted to slap him. When he was released, I could finally see that little glimmer back in his eyes. He found hope, and self belief.

He’s the best he’s been in a long time, he’s working, staying out of trouble, and working on himself. I’m so proud of all of the hard work he’s accomplished, and he continues to make progress. This isn’t the end of his story, he may back slide, he may not. I hope one day he is able to mentor other people struggling with addiction and show them that it’s only one part of their story, not their defining moment.

My best friend will always be an addict, and he will always be stuck with me cheering him on from the sidelines.

Addictions are ugly, destructive, chaotic. Wouldn’t you want someone standing by you with a rope if you fell down into that well of despair?

Just give it a thought the next time you think about giving up on someone with an addiction. Maybe you are that one thing they need to bring them back.

Moon Taxi at the Ryman

We spent the past weekend in Nashville for two days of Moon Taxi at the Ryman Auditorium. I love the history and the stories behind the venues we go to. Some of the greatest legends in music played on that stage, and filled that auditorium with heavenly notes. There is just something about a venue that was at one time a church that just gives the show something extra, music can be a spiritual experience anyway.

Friday night was night one. The show opener was a New York City based band called Too Many Zoos. They are a three man band comprised of a trumpet player, saxophone, and drums and percussion. You can tell they are passionate about the music they are playing. Leo, the saxophonist, has a stage presence that is as bright and energetic as his green hair and rhinestone cowboy boots. They need a little more variety, but they have great energy and a love for what they do, I would say they are ones to watch.

Moon Taxi led off their set with “Mercury” and the entire auditorium rose to their feet. A venue such as the Ryman, doesn’t give you much room to shake a tail feather, but that didn’t stop anyone. Trevor belted out their hits and then shook things up with a “Hotel California” cover.

Nailed it.

The boys from Too Many Zoos joined Moon Taxi on stage for “Two High” to close out the show before a three song encore. Friday night was a great show.

We were rather disappointed with Saturday. It was basically the same show. We aren’t used to two night runs being repetitive. Too Many Zoos performed the exact same set as the night before, which was slightly expected since I doubt their song vault is loaded yet. Moon Taxi opened their set with “Year Zero” which we heard the night before. They played a handful of songs they didn’t play Friday, but it wasn’t enough to justify going to both shows.

Friday Night Set List     

  • Mercury
  • Change
  • Make Your Mind Up
  • Who’s To Say (Ft. Leo from Too Many Zoos)
  • Not Too Late
  • Year Zero
  • Suspicious / Sweet Dreams
  • (Young Journey) Gunflower
  • River Water
  • Red Hot Lights
  • Moving To The City
  • Hotel California
  • Two High (with Too Many Zoos)

Encore

  • Morocco
  • Run Right Back
  • All Day All Night

The songs in bold are the ones we heard both nights.

It was still a great weekend and a great show, we just won’t be doing any two day Moon Taxi runs again anytime soon.

Put em up, two high!

For The Love of Car Seats

Opinions.

Everyone has them.

Lots of them.

Life has always been this way, but with the popularity of social media, they seem louder and more prevalent. Don’t get me wrong, opinions are great, it’s how so many deep discussions get started, but some people are forgetting that opinions are NOT fact.

I’m talking to you mom-shamers!

I recently had a friend of mine completely torn to shreds for posting a picture of her kid in a car seat. A car seat picture is the mom equivalent of wearing a political shirt in public…you’re asking for it.

There was nothing wrong with her picture. Her son was 8 shades of precious before school, cheesing as big as his little face could, and she wanted a picture. She hadn’t buckled him in yet.

OMG!

People were attacking her for not buckling him in.

Hello! The car isn’t moving, and she is standing next to him with the door open. Chill!

People were commenting things such as:

“Maybe you should make sure your child is secure before taking pictures”

“I hope to God you didn’t drive off without him secure”

Someone else included a picture diagram of how to correctly use a car seat.

I can’t make this up y’all. She was eviscerated for sharing an innocent and sweet moment with her son, because people assume they know the situation and all of the facts. Of course she was going to drive off without buckling him in, survival of the fittest right?

I had moments of mom-shaming before I became one. Fictional children are extremely easier to parent than actual ones. I always said I would never feed my kids anything other than natural and organic food.

Someone without children reads that as doable task.

Now that I have a child, that task is impossible. Tom Cruise wouldn’t accept that mission. She eats healthy, but guess what?

  • Sometimes I’m tired and I make her chicken nuggets and fries.
  • I’ve seen her eat boogers.
  • She tried mud once because it looked like chocolate
  • I’ve witnessed her drop a sucker on the ground, pick it up, dust it off, and say “5 second rule”.
  • I caught her putting toilet water in her sippy cup when she was 2.

And after all of that, my kid is perfectly fine. She’s rarely sick too, probably from the immune boost the 5 second rule gives.

My point is, we all mom differently. Your mom was a different kind of mom too. I think we have become a society that goes out in search of a problem to complain about. Use your common sense, don’t mom-shame unless an actual life threatening event could occur.

I know a lot of moms that parent differently than I do. In fact, some the complete opposite. If the kids are happy and healthy, then mind your own circus. Either be a light or go talk about my kid eating mud behind my back. Being a mom is hard enough without a bunch of critiques that haven’t even seen the movie commenting.

Good luck out there, and for the love, don’t post a car seat picture!

Pumpkin Picking

Southerners are our own breed of people, especially when it comes to Fall. October 1st, you can start spotting people in boots and long sleeves, just trying to make Fall happen. They are a brave kind of people, appropriately dressed in the morning, sweating to death in the afternoon, all in the name of fashion. We love our pictures in front of cotton fields, enough porch decorations to be seen from space, pumpkin flavored everything, and taking the kids to a pumpkin patch.

Over the weekend, Sassy and I went pumpkin picking at Old Baker Farm with some friends. It was one of those perfect mornings, where you walk outside and the crisp cool air hits your face.

Fall.

I break out my boots and a comfy jacket, I FINALLY get to wear my comfy fall clothes.

We arrive at the farm and I’m noticing less of that perfect crisp cool air. We start walking, passing the vendors selling southern staples like BBQ, homemade kettle corn, monogrammed ornaments, and sweet tea.

The kids get their pictures made in front of corn stalks, hay bales, pumpkins, and of course cotton.

The farm had a large trailer with picked cotton in it for the kids to play in. You saw every kid struggling to get their shoes off as fast as humanly possible, so they didn’t waste one more second not playing in that cotton.

Kids are weird.

Sassy was running around in the cotton yelling “It’s wet cot-tun, but I love it”.

She rode a horse for the first time. Stepped in horse poop for the first time too.

We then spent 15-20 minutes digging though troughs of corn kernels for 5 golden ones so she could get a piece of candy. The kernels are already gold. I would have enjoyed spotting the hot pink kernel a little more.

Hayrides.

I feel like this is another Southern thing. We sit on large bales of hay while being pulled through the woods by a tractor. It’s better than walking, since the crisp cool air lasted for the duration of the car ride to the farm. There were pools of my sweat in my boots. I was actively melting.

The hayride took us to the pumpkin patch, where we could walk around and pick out our pumpkins. For some reason, my kid kept wanting the ones that were either rotting, or 42 pounds. Luckily, I was able to find one that landed her approval, and I could easily carry. She named it Ted.

Everywhere you look, you saw smiling faces. Most of us were miserable in our boots and sweaters, slowly melting away, but we were still smiling. It’s hard not to smile when you are surrounded by a horde of children having the time of their lives. The vendors were smiling from watching all of the kids experiencing pure joy.

Us Southerners may be a little weird, but all the best people are.

Here’s to hoping Fall really does happen soon, and that everyone finds the perfect pumpkin.

Ted is already taken.

 

 

Easter Bunny Backstory

Over the weekend, Kent and I were perusing the local thrift stores for project pieces, and of course Sassy was supervising. We were driving down the road, when randomly Sassy started talking about her stuffed bunny, and then wanted to know where the Easter Bunny came from…

Crap! Why do I have no idea what the answer is. Why is the Easter Bunny lacking a backstory, or are Kent and I the only ones unaware of it?

Not knowing the answer, I do what I do best, and punted to Kent. Impressively, he quickly responds that he obviously lives in a hole in the ground like the other bunnies.

Seems legit.

A large mythical and magical rabbit, that delivers baskets of goodies to kids all over the world, and he lives in a dirt hole in the ground.

Sassy wasn’t too enthused by the answer, but she accepted it as the God’s honest truth.

I was prepared for so many questions about Santa, or leprechauns, or the tooth-fairy. How did the Easter Bunny slip by? I’m normally one to think quick on the spot, not about rabbits apparently. It was not our finest moment.

I could hear her mumbling in the backseat, talking it out to brilliant 4-year-old self.

“He’s so big, must be a big hole”

“Maybe it’s a cave”

“I hope the other bunnies are nice to him”

I was worried she was starting to doubt our backstory, but alas she moved on to wanting to have a slumber party at the North Pole.

About 10 o’clock that night, I had an epiphany that would have been helpful around 8 hours earlier. Easter Island. The dad-gum Easter Bunny would be from Easter Island. I’m a moron. How could I have missed this? It seems so obvious! Oh well.

So, it would be greatly appropriated if we could all just stick to the hole in ground story. Our bad, but really could you have our backs on this?

Terrors of Adulthood

Since I have a tendency to celebrate Halloween for the entire month of October, I thought I would compile a list of things that become horror movie level terrifying once you are an adult. These things at one point in your life, didn’t phase you, you didn’t give them a second though. Now they give you that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.

 

The dread of feeling like you forgot something. Especially if you’re a parent. It’s that feeling that starts driving you crazy, and you have no idea what you could possibly be forgetting, but you’re sure it’s important.

tenor

Sudden sharp pains in random locations. You just know death is near.

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Checking your bank account. Math is hard.

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Realizing that your high school class is running the country. I don’t think this needs much explanation. That’s terrifying. We are not responsible enough. I still call my mom for answers to questions I’m too lazy to google.

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Waking up the morning after drinking. It’s not going to be good. Ever.

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Laundry. It’s just always there. You finish it, you actually put it all up for once, and then there’s more of it again.

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Hope this gave you a little chuckle to make a Monday bearable.

 

Prime Mom

I’m from a small town. A very small town. The main place to congregate while I was in high school was the parking lot of the local Piggly WIggly. That was mostly because it was the only store in town. The next town over had a Walmart. No one actually LIKES to go to Walmart. When I’m forced to stop in, I can be found curled up in a ball crying in the corner. I get anxiety just driving passed one. I don’t think I’m alone in this.

I don’t know how or why but that store is a succubus, it’s kills your soul and sucks the life right out of you. People just aren’t pleasant when they go there. Maybe it was my limited shopping options, but I never understood the Target obsession either. I’m pretty sure I just made people gasp. Calm down, I’ve been there, it’s a decent place to shop, but have you tried Amazon Prime?

Perhaps it’s my degree of laziness about shopping, or my anxiety about having to encounter the general public, but there is no greater shopping experience than Amazon Prime. I can shop from my couch, in whatever terribly embarrassing mismatched outfit I’m wearing, with day old makeup on, before I even brush my teeth. They really hooked me with the free two day shipping bit as well. Yes, I know Target has a Starbucks, but I drink my coffee as black as midnight and as strong as The Hulk, and that’s not on their menu.  My TV’s are powered by Amazon fire sticks. Basically at this point in my life I’m in a codependent relationship with Amazon. They just make it too easy…

Need something? Amazon. Too busy to shop? Amazon. Can’t find anything to watch? Amazon. Need a babysitter? Amazon.

I’m honestly not sure if I’m promoting laziness, the ease of online shopping, or antisocial behavior, but it has certainly made my life easier. I’m all about convenience and efficiency these days. So, was there a reason behind writing this? I went to Walmart against my better judgement to find colored candy melts and cookie decorations for Sassy. We get to the cookie decorations and some incredibly considerate fellow shopper had searched through the decorations to the point that it looked like the shelves threw up on themselves. We found one thing we needed. And no candy melts anywhere.

Moral of this story, I ordered the candy melts from Amazon, they will be here tomorrow when I get home from work. I knew better.

 

A Musical Experience

As a 30 something year old mom with a full-time job, I don’t go out much. Going out involves having to look presentable to the general public, and most days I’m just really not into that. Down time to me, is when I sit down on the couch, after the tiny human is in bed, and pretend I’m relaxing. I do however LOVE going to shows. I cash in all of my babysitting chips about once a month and go see amazing music. When she’s a little older she’ll be going too, she’s a hardcore Moon Taxi and moe. fan.

I was lucky enough to find a man who shares my love of music, he might even have me beat a little. On our date nights, you can find us shaking a tail feather under the stage lights. Finding someone to share your favorite experiences with is indescribably amazing. We have witnessed musical history together, like Ray LaMontagne playing his entire Ouroboros album with My Morning Jacket on his last tour. That’s something that will never be able to be witnessed again. And collaborations that won’t happen anywhere other than a festival, like Gov’t Mule with Ann Wilson or wait for it… Phil Lesh, David Shaw, and moe. together jamming to “Ophelia”. I believe one of my favorite memories though, was making our way to the stage front at Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville just as it started to pour down rain at the Umphrey’s McGee show. They closed the show a few minutes later with Zeppelin’s “Fool in the Rain”.

We recently went to LOCK’N music festival in Arrington, Virginia and it was hands down, the most incredible musical experience I’ve had. The festival was extremely well-organized, planned out, and executed. The line-up was insane, and the weather was perfection. But the best part, was the people. Thousands of dirty hippies all in one spot spreading that peace and love. We met boatloads of people, and I don’t have a single bad thing to say about any of them. Everywhere we went we were greeted with a smile and introduction. It was like the South on steroids.

I didn’t put on make-up or wash my hair with more than dry shampoo for 4 days, but yet just about every time I walked around someone was commenting on how much they liked my braid or the other weird thing I did with my hair. That level of compliment when you assume you look like a disaster survivor, can really boost some self-esteem.

I also have a slight obsession with Shakedown Street. Most of your bigger festivals and weekend shows will have a vendor section lovingly referred to as Shakedown Street. My favorite vendor is Culture Cross. They sell geode and gemstone jewelry. A large portion of their proceeds goes towards rebuilding a music and art school in Cambodia. If you see me wearing a necklace, this is where it came from.

This is probably why I love going to shows so much, it’s not just about the music, it’s the whole experience, the atmosphere, the vibe. Some of the venues we’ve been to have been just as beautiful as the music. We recently saw a Gov’t Mule show in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Red Butte Amphitheater, if you weren’t looking at the stage you could just stare at the Wasatch Mountains. Some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen have been at outdoor shows.

Find someone who sings the song your soul loves, and then dance to it with them. I’ll be experiencing my first show at the Ryman in Nashville in a few weeks, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. I can only hope that music never stops.

 

Monster Cookie Pops

We “said” we were making these for Sassy, but I’m not certain that’s true. These are super easy to make and ridiculously cute. She loves monsters so we made plenty of those, plus a few for Halloween.

Here is everything I used.

I decided to go with popsicle sticks instead of lollipop sticks mainly because I couldn’t find any lollipop sticks while I was shopping.

I also decided to use gel food coloring instead of candy melts.

First, you need to take apart the Oreos so you can secure the sticks in the middle.

Melt the chocolate you are going to start with. I started with about half of the bag in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals.

Take a stick and dip the end in the chocolate and press it onto one half of the Oreo and then add the other half. Set aside to dry for a few minutes.

Make sure you use parchment paper so they won’t stick once they are covered in chocolate.

Once the sticks are secured and set, start dipping the Oreos in the chocolate. We started with plain white chocolate and then moved on to the food coloring. You can dip the whole cookie in the chocolate or pour the chocolate over the Oreo with a spoon.

After they are covered, apply any decorations that will need to dry to the chocolate (eyeballs, sprinkles, sugar pearls).

Once all of your cookies are chocolate covered, and partially decorated, let everything set in the refrigerator. I probably let ours set for about an hour.

Apply the icing decorations and pat yourself on the back!

A few up close pictures of my favorites.

Jack Skellington

Mummy

Dracula and a Monster

Monster Oreo Pops

  • 1-2 bags of white chocolate morsels
  • 1 bag of chocolate morsels
  • Oreos
  • Gel food coloring
  • Popsicle or lollipop sticks
  • Decorator icing
  • Decorations

Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper for the chocolate drying.

Take apart the Oreos so you can insert the sticks.

Melt about half the bag of chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals until melted.

Dip the ends of the sticks in the chocolate and press into one of the Oreo halves. Add the other half, gently press together and set aside to dry. Shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

Dip the prepared pops in the chocolate or pour over with a spoon. If you need to add food coloring, add as much as needed to get the color you want and then dip the pops. You may have to reheat the chocolate while you are working.

Add any decorations like eyeballs that need to stick to the chocolate while it dries.

Once all the pops are covered and partially decorated, let them finish setting in the fridge for about an hour.

Take them out, finish up any icing decorations, and enjoy!

 

 

 

Toddler Table and Chair

Sassy’s favorite color is blue, so I painted her a blue table and chair set with purple and green accents.

I had the table from college, I believe i paid about $15 for it from Walmart. I found the chair at a thrift store for $1.

This is the paint I used for the base coat, Ceramcoat in turquoise which i ordered off of Amazon. I put a solid coat on and let it dry for about 12 hours.

 

After the blue had dried, I sponged on the purple in random spots and wiped it in with a rag. I used this Carolina Fields purple from Soft Southern Strokes which I also ordered from Amazon.

 

I added some green stencil paintings for her after it was dry and covered with clear coat. This piece was not waxed.

Super simple and cute project. I started this on a Saturday morning and she was using it Sunday night.