Center Stage: 9/15/17

A Slightly-Too-Long Note to My Stitch Fix Stylist: The Ugly Volvo

“Hoping to compile a cute, “mom-friendly” wardrobe, but hey, if you wanted to throw in a few pieces that are mind-blowingly impractical I would totally be down for it because while yes, I could probably use some versatile cardigans, in my heart of hearts what I’d really love is a motorcycle jacket and maybe some boots that make me look like I’m the type of person who’d casually put out a cigarette on a guy’s face?” 


Throwing shade at the solar eclipse: Nickworthy

“An eclipse is a great and historic thing to see, except for that you can’t actually look at it. Don’t hype up something for several months and tell me how amazing it is but then say I can’t look at it. That just makes me want to look at it even more. It’s like if I was on a diet (I’m not) and my wife made me doughnuts (yes, please). I have very little willpower, so it’s going to be tough not to look at the eclipse. I’m not supposed to look directly at the sun on most days but I still do that, just like I stare at light bulbs. Maybe this is what happened to the dinosaurs. They all looked at an eclipse, went blind and then became extinct.”


Registering for your kid’s birthday party presents, WTF???: Baby Sideburns

“I totally get registering for a wedding or a baby shower. I mean there’s a bunch of shit you NEED (like no one’s gonna buy you nipple shields unless you ask for them) and you’re just starting out in the world, but eight-year-olds don’t NEED specific toys. And this is not a Christmas wish list. I am not Santa Claus….I mean God forbid little Miss McPartypants opens up a Lego set she didn’t ask for. Awww don’t worry, sweetie pie, we’ll go make sure NO ONE gets you the wrong Barbie doll so you’re not disappointed on your birthday.”


5 Rules for Black Cookouts … and Life: The Root

“As one of the world’s leading cookoutologists (I would say I’m the leading authority, but my aunt Phyllis hasn’t officially retired), I feel it is my duty to keep you updated on the latest in cookout culture. (Always remember: White people barbecue, black people “cook out.”)…

1.  Bring something to the table.  Showing up empty-handed to a black cookout is one of the worst offenses a human being can commit. If you’re wondering why everyone is giving you a slight side eye, it’s because you waltzed into Aunt Phyllis’ backyard with nothing but a cellphone and a beer. One beer! What kind of motherfucking savage are you?”


Fuck Status Symbols: Damn, Girl. Get Your Shit Together

“We don’t want our parents lives. Don’t get caught in the same traps they did…Below is a list of the shit that nobody hip cares about, and makes you look like a superficial idiot.

1.  Expensive wine.  Studies have debunked the relationship between wine taste and wine cost. That $30 or $40 or $60 or god forbid $90+ bottle of wine is bullshit. You are not a sommelier, you are like a kid awarding blue ribbons to mud pies and it’s embarrassing. Science agrees. Find a bottle you like under $15 and get drunk like the wise millennials do.”

a few (more) of my favorite things

Pringles, soft blankets, spellbinding paperbacks, and coffee.

Oh, plus these.

“Parenthood.”  Have you guys seen this show?  I’m sure you have because BrightSide and I tend to be roughly 3.8 years behind the curve when it comes to network television.  (Case in point: we still haven’t seen “This Is Us.”  Yeah, I know, don’t yell at me.)  We loved every single episode of “Parenthood.”  It was so on the money – Asperger’s, adoption, divorce, the N word.  They handled real life issues with a graceful yet expert touch that never came off as heavy handed.  Impressive writers; even more impressive show.

Ben & Jerry’s.  I’m drawing a blank on whether I’ve included this on one of my “favorites” lists (how could I not have by now?) but c’est la vie, here it is again.  Forget the smooth, creamy delightfulness as it melts on your tongue.  Let’s talk about flavors.  The selection alone is a decidophobic’s worst nightmare.  I can’t even get an accurate tally of flavor options – some sources say more than forty, others put it at more than sixty – I imagine it has something to do with whether one counts special edition flavors.  Regardless…Cocoa Loco, Truffle Kerfuffle, Bourbon Brown Butter, Empower Mint…Boom Chocolatta Cookie Core, Bourbon Pecan Pie, Chocolate Therapy, Half Baked, The Tonight Dough…endless choices, endless opportunities for sugar induced bliss.

Proper cookies.  Preferably homemade, definitely chocolate chip, chewy with gooey milk chocolate.

Potato chips.  There’s no denying original Pringles (call me a purist) are salty heaven in a can, but there are surprising elements of craving involved in potato chip love.  Certain days demand BBQ Lay’s, others call for Sour Cream and Onion.  All around, though, I’d have to say there’s rarely a day the potato chip can’t improve.

Diet Dr. Pepper.  Yes, I know.  Diet soda is the devil.  I’m working hard to drink more water, and I’m doing better at home…but an unfortunate side effect of BrightSide moving me out into country life with our über deep well has been that all restaurant water tastes like chemicals.  Ugh.  So my first question is why can’t restaurant water taste decent.  My second is why on earth don’t more restaurants carry diet Dr. Pepper.

Interested in other random favorites lists?  You can read some here and here.

gratitude: another southern staple

I know I joke around about living in the south.  They have a strange obsession with Cheerwine here and a bizarre inclination to deep fry anything.  When we go out to eat I have to ask BrightSide to remind me which kind of sweet tea that particular restaurant serves – moderate, hummingbird, or put me into a diabetic coma sweet.  Don’t even get me started on why chicken and waffles are offered together as a breakfast order.

But I’ll tell you something this glorious state introduced me to: the delectable dish that is chicken pie.

I mean, chicken pie in general is delicious, but there’s this place in town called Michelle’s Catering.  Oh, my…Michelle’s chicken pie…

Anthems could be written about the savoriness of this pie.  Its tender chicken, the scrumptious sauce, a flaky and fabulous crust.  I have dreams about this pie.  The mere thought of it makes me salivate just a little.

I just texted my husband begging him to bring home this pie.  Tonight.

Some might say I have a problem, but I figure it’s better than being hooked on deep fried Twinkies.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

popularity, an all-carb diet, and being the cool mom

Thinking about tweens and health class and all the giggles that get me through the day…well, turns out I felt like revisiting my Mean Girls quotes.

“Can I get you guys anything?  Some snacks?  A condom?  Let me know.  Oh, God love ya.”

“Ex-boyfriends are just off-limits to friends.  I mean, that’s just, like, the rules of feminism!”

“I’m sorry that people are so jealous of me.  But I can’t help it that I’m popular.”

“That’s why her hair is so big.  It’s full of secrets.”

“So if you’re from Africa, why are you white?”  “Oh my god, Karen, you can’t just ask people why they’re white!”

“On Wednesdays we wear pink.”

“I can’t go to Taco Bell.  I’m on an all-carb diet.  God, Karen, you are so stupid!”

“Is butter a carb?”

“I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom.”

Aren’t we all, Mrs. George?  Aren’t we all.

just a few favorites

I’m on a bit of a Sound of Music kick.  I even caught Bear humming some of the tunes, which I have to say warmed my musical heart.  I just can’t get one of them out of my head, though.  No matter how hard I try this one particular song is on repeat.

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things!”
Continue reading

death on a cracker


Riddle from the Middle is lying in bed, feeling like death on a cracker, and therefore has lost all wit and wisdom for the day.  As a matter of fact, just sitting up long enough to do this has made her lightheaded and a little achy.


Some perusals for today:

Hedger Humor – Because everyone can use a laugh now and then.

Playdates on Fridays – ‘Cause parenting.  Lawd.

The Mighty – Because we need to talk about all of it, even the hard stuff.

F*owl Language – Comics with an edge (and funny as all get out).

All in a Dad’s Work – Because omg, I cannot do that elf, but at least someone is giving their child a magical Christmas.


gratitude: words of gold

I’m a reader through and through.  My mom and I would check out piles of books from the library, dive in, then exchange them for a new set every two weeks.  It was like going to the toy store and picking out treats all summer long.

That kind of passion never dies.

Sometimes I’ll discover an author or genre and read until I’ve exhausted my options before finding something new.  Right now I’m reading a smattering of youth fiction, adult fiction, and adult non-fiction depending on my mood, but the reality is that I’m never more grateful than when I’ve got a good book in my hands.

Before the kids came along BrightSide and I enjoyed a fixation that spanned John Grisham, the Kellermans (both Jonathan and Faye), Tom Clancy, and Patricia Cornwell.  The list was a bit heavy on murder mystery and intrigue, but they were terrific reads.  We’ve still got most of them on the bookshelves around here, as a matter of fact.

BrightSide has become interested in reading biographies about people like Thomas Jefferson, but I still fall mainly into fiction.  Some of the treasures I’ve discovered along the way:

  • Jodi Picoult.  This author’s work bridges youth and adult fiction.  She’s tackled subjects like suicide, friendship, faith and religion, the media, illness, medical ethics, school shootings, and so much more.  Her latest novel, Small Great Things, is waiting patiently on the bookshelf for me to crack it open.  I can promise you this – her books pull you in, so be prepared to read late into the night.
  • Glennon Doyle Melton.  A woman who’s recently published her second book, Glennon is one of the few nonfiction writers that completely captures my attention.  Both works are about her personal journey; she doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad, or the ugly, so by the time you’ve finished you really know her truth.
  • Harry Potter.  Sorry, but it had to be said.
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians.  Rick Riordan captures a mythological storyline that has a Harry Potter essence with characters you can’t help but lean into, which is saying a lot coming from someone who wasn’t exactly into Greek Gods back in the day. This is a five book series that grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go until you reach the story’s resolution.
  • The Hunger Games trilogy.  I found these books fascinating, although I have to say I was surprised to see them in fourth graders’ desks at school.  That may have more to do with the subject matter and my own child’s sensitivity to difficult themes than anything else, though.  They’re set in a post-apocalyptic nation where districts are required to annually sacrifice two of their youth to a televised blood sport where participants fight to the death.  The trilogy’s arc examines the disparity between rich and poor, suffering as entertainment, and the role appearance plays in society, among other things.
  • The Giver series.  These four young adult novels by Lois Lowry are set in a futuristic era and examine themes such as Utopian societies, sameness versus individuality, euthanasia, the relationship between pain and pleasure, a technology-free state, generosity versus selfishness, and the power of love.  They’re powerfully thought provoking and high on my list of books I want to reread.

What are some of your literary treasures?

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

confessions of a blog binge reader

I love a good blog.  Ones that make me laugh or cry, think about something in a different way, or simply appreciate the power of words written beautifully – they’re a precious gift.  Some I’ve found through Facebook, others through the community of bloggers on WordPress, but I enjoy them all for different reasons.  And if I’m following a blog it’s because that person’s work moves me.

So why am I such a crappy blogger friend?

Yeah, I’m owning this.  There are bloggers who support RFTM…who visit, check out what I’m up to, sometimes leave their thoughts behind…and they’re a loyal group.  We notice when someone’s been gone for too long, or if a post seems particularly off, and we’re not afraid to ask if everything’s okay.

It’s a blessing, but one I’m not great at reciprocating daily.  I get lost in the muck of things – pets, errands, doctor’s appointments, volunteering, singing, writing, laundry – all the things it takes to keep a life spinning, and reading blogs often falls into the “when I get a chance” category.  And we all know how that usually works out.

For me, that usually means every three to four days I throw up my hands and say Enough!  I’m out of touch.  If BrightSide asks what I’m doing in those blocks I’ll tell him “blogger networking,” mostly because it’s simpler than saying I’ve disappeared for too long, I need to check in, so I’m binge reading blogs.  (Also, because “networking” makes it sound slightly less flighty than serial blog post consumption.)

If you’re one of my blogger friends and have noticed this odd week on, week off pattern, it’s not because I’ve suddenly realized I don’t give a rat’s patootie what you’re writing/posting.  The world has gotten the best of me but I’ll be back soon.

I know there’ll come a day when the schedule nuttiness of two kids, two dogs, a household, and me will ease, and maybe then I’ll finally be able to set aside an hour a day for checking in with all of you wonderful folks.  Until then, I guess I’ll keep on binge reading.

ps – I totally acknowledge the irony of this post after yesterday’s “maybe we’re not as busy as we think.”  

In case you’re in a binging mood yourself:

Photography –

Cee’s Photography

Laura Macky Photography


Humor/Life/I have no idea what to call this category –

Coach Daddy

Joeyfully Stated

Behind The White Coat

Thought Provoking/Culture/Cannot be pigeonholed –

Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

fourth generation farmgirl

But I Smile Anyway

rachelmankowitz: The Cricket Pages