Monthly Archives: January 2011

January Taught Me

  1. There is no such thing as a “quick” two player round of Bananagrams.
  2. Who the most interesting man in the NBA is.
  3. Ferrero Rocher’s, those delicious little truffles wrapped in golden foil, are filled with Nutella. Who knew?!
  4. There is such a thing as papaya flavored antibacterial hand gel, and it smells decadent.
  5. Trying new granola bar flavors has become somewhat of a hobby of mine, and several of my favorite brands came out with new flavors this month. The winners: Fiber Plus’ Caramel Coconut Fudge and Special K’s Raspberry Cheesecake.
  6. Snow is dazzling and beautiful and magical on occasion, but it can also be a real nuisance. Like when you reeeeally need to go to the office, but the weatherman says no.
  7. There are only five regular season home games left on the Tiger’s basketball schedule. Boooo.
  8. When it comes to Donkey Kong on the Wii, it turns out that I am a champion at blasting monkeys to and from barrels, and Jax is a master at cart steering. And it’s a good thing we don’t rent video games often, or my productivity level would drastically plummet.
  9. New day planners are a source of great happiness for me.
  10. Changing the background on your desktop computer does wonders for your mental health. I mean, how good does this make you feel?


Air Mel

Last Saturday, I flew a plane. Not a simulation, and not for pretend. A real vehicular aircraft that transports people and things from point A to point B via flight travel. No big deal.

Jax and I arrived at Downtown Aviation a little before 1:00, and about 30 seconds after we met our flight coach and Cessna 172, Mr. Instructor hands me the keys and we crawl into the cockpit.

Uhhh….. you do realize I have zero knowledge on how to fly a plane, right? I haven’t had an ounce of training, and I didn’t exactly Google it….

Mr. Instructor assures me this is not a problem and proceeds to give me a brief description of all the dials on the control panel. He points out the speed indicator, turn coordinator, suction gauge, altimeter, and a bunch of other buttons I won’t pretend to understand. We check the breaks, we slide on our headsets, and we announce to the flight world our plans for take off. 

Lord, please do not let me learn that I am incapable of keeping a plane in flight and plummet to my death.

I am tense. As in, I’m likely not even breathing. I am 100% unprepared to fly a plane, and I feel like I need to warn somebody. I might as well be blindfolded, I am so unqualified. But Jax is in the backseat shouting encouragements, and our flight ascends smoothly. Once we are afloat in the sky, all is right with the world. It is glorious.

Mr. Instructor switches the controls over to me and points me in various directions. I steer us around the marvelous expanse of sky, and it is an incredible feeling. Although my part doesn’t require much skill or talent, as the one with the license is handling all the complicated stuff, it is still amazing to think that I, at this very moment, am flying a plane. We see giant flocks of geese and make our way through wisps of clouds, and I am all smiles.

We travel along the Mississippi River for a while, then eventually head to West Memphis, Arkansas for a quick landing so that Jax and I can switch places. The landing went smoothly, and my 30 minutes of flight fame were up.

Jax took over the driver’s seat, and we headed up for round two.

He is a masterful flier and navigated like a pro, while I sat in the back dazzled by the scenery below and the excitement of it all. After Jax did his thing, we headed back to Memphis, survived another successful landing, and stood on solid ground. You know, just your average Saturday afternoon.

Sittin’ around, waiting for an airplane
Don’t know how to fly, but that’s okay
Got me a pilot, she’s going my way
If she’s got wings, if she’s got wings

~ Widespread Panic

Mmmm, Cake!

There was a point in college when my three favorite musical acts were Jack Johnson, Cake, and Coldplay, in no particular order. I am still a fan of each of them to varying degrees, but as we all know, our tastes change as we find ourselves in different stages of life, surrounded by different people, and introduced to new music.

Despite being a fan for the past many years, I somehow have never seen Cake live. Until last night at Minglewood Hall, and it was long overdue. It was great to enjoy in person the songs that accompanied me on many a college road trip back in the day. I haven’t kept up with Cake’s newer endeavors, but I am crazy about their older albums — Comfort Eagle, Prolonging the Magic, Fashion Nugget — and it was fun to finally see the guys perform this music I’ve been listening to for so long.

They played some songs I was vaguely familiar with from their new album, which, impressively, was number one on the Billboard charts despite their recent switch to an independent label. The songs I was more excited about, however, were of the older variety – Stickshifts and Safetybelts, Italian Leather Sofa, Guitar, Love You Madly, and a whole slew of others.

The crowd was of an interesting mix, and not nearly as into it as I (or lead singer John McCrea) would have liked, but that didn’t stop my fun. I stomped my feet and sang along, thoroughly enjoying the performance. In an effort to increase audience participation, John McCrea was a bit demanding of the crowd – name that tree, clap your hands, sing louder – but overall the band was very entertaining. They kicked the encore off with a very well-received cover of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs, and then wrapped things up with the song we had all been waiting for, The Distance, which got the whole place moving.


Last Year in Music

This list is more so that I can look back and remember the music I saw in 2010, and less a post that you will be interested in reading. Only those of you who enjoy reviewing the year in music (Wade, I’m talking to you) or who accompanied me to the majority of these shows (Jax) might have an interest in this. Otherwise, please kindly overlook.

By the looks of it, my January was devoid of live music. I don’t know how I feel about this.

  • Lucero ~ February 5 ~ Minglewood Hall
  • Eric Clapton  ~ March 5 ~ FedEx Forum (this is Music Bucket List material right here!)
  • Third Day ~ March 7 ~ FedEx Forum
  • Lucero ~ March 12 ~ Mercy Lounge
  • Lucero ~ March 13 ~ Marcy Lounge
  • Couch Fire ~ March 21 ~ New Daisy
  • Galactic ~ April 16 ~ Minglewood Hall

And here marks the beginning of festival season, which was full of waaaaayyyyy too much good music to individually list. Just know it was awesome.

  • Beale Street Music Festival ~ April 30 – May 2 ~ Memphis, TN
  • Hangout Beach, Music, and Arts Festival ~  May 14 – 18 ~ Gulf Shores, AL
  • KC and the Sunshine Band ~ May 29 ~ Sunset Symphony
  • Wakarusa ~ June 3 – 6 ~ Mulberry Mountain, AR
  • Black Joe Lewis ~ June 11 ~Levitt Shell
  • Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival ~ June 10 – 13 ~ Manchester, TN

Back to life, back to reality.

  • Chris Tomlin and Toby Mac ~ July 7 ~ Hope Presbyterian Church
  • ZZ Top ~ August 1 ~ Desoto
  • Tom Petty ~ August 12 ~ Bridgestone Arena
  • Lucero ~ August 21 ~ Rock 4 Love, HiTone
  • Lucero ~ September 25 ~ Lyric Oxford
  • Avett Brothers ~ October 29 ~ The Ryman Auditorium
  • Girl Talk ~ October 31 ~ Mai
  • Iron and Wine ~ November 14 ~ Minglewood Hall
  • Lucero ~ December 23 ~ Minglewood Hall

Started and ended the year with Lucero, sounds about right. And if this list is complete, which I cannot confirm that it is, then it looks like I saw Lucero seven times last year (I’m including their Bonnaroo set, for those of you who like math and don’t see how things are adding up).

And now I’m ready to start on 2011!


Snowmageddon 2011

As the first snowfall of the year blanketed my city last night, and I was gathered in the den with my family watching a movie, alternating between sitting fireside and lounging on the couch, I couldn’t help but think what an absolute lovely weekend I had. Nothing exceptional, just the kind of weekend that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and content inside. Basketball playing with the boyfriend, followed by a nice Friday night dinner date. An early morning 6 miler on the Greenline with my gals, a happy visit with a good friend, a Tiger victory at the Forum, and a fun girls’ dinner at Boscos. Sunday morning church with the family, afternoon brunch with my grandmother, a cycling class at the gym, and a lot of other good stuff thrown in the mix.

And I woke up this morning to find….it has been extended! SNOW DAY! I suspected I would probably not be going in early, but I was planning on arriving around noon and was pleasantly surprised to find that we would be taking off the whole day!

I don’t know what to do with myself. A free day with no plans? What does that even mean??!?

I’ve got some work related marketing research I plan on digging into, and I’ve been commissioned to work on some interior design aspects for our new office building, so I have some online browsing to do, but otherwise, what on earth am I going to do with this open, unplanned, totally unexpected free day?

I see a nap in my future, and a potential visit to the gym, some quality time with the brother, a walk through the winter wonderland outside my doorstep, and I’ll probably squeeze some movie watching in there, too. And then of course there’s some laundry that needs attention, and a crock pot recipe book I’ve been meaning to flip through, and my room could use a little TLC. But still, what a welcome luxury.


And literally as I was writing this, I spotted my neighbor outside building a snowman, so I threw on a scarf and mittens and ran out the door to join her. We made snow angels, and a little monochromatic snow buddy.

Off to enjoy the rest of my day! Stay safe and warm out there, my friends!


2010 Reminiscence

2010 was good to me.

I learned how to surf, played in the snow, went white water rafting, threw my first baby shower, ziplined in the jungle, sat beneath an active volcano, and hiked in the tropical rainforest.  I purchased my first Snuggie, dressed as a mermaid for Halloween, finished 15 books, took my first trail run, and got multiple promotions at work. I won an item in a silent auction, danced at galas, hugged Tarik Black, adopted a Christmas Angel, went whale watching, played in the mud, and contributed to my IRA.  I swam in a guitar-shaped pool, carved a pumpkin, co-hosted a garage sale, and shopped at the farmer’s market.

I also started running again, which resulted in my participation in 12 races of various lengths. I began with some easy 5ks and 10ks, then found myself running a half marathon in dreamy Costa Rica. Figuring that I was already halfway there, I signed up for and ran my first full marathon, a feat that was not even a thought in my head at the beginning of the year. I accomplished personal goals, fed my running addiction, and made a lot of new friends in the process.

I traveled near and far, by car and by plane, and it gave my year such depth. I visited friends in Oxford and Nashville, took a train to New Orleans, watched my Tigers dominate the court in Tupelo, ate pancakes in Ooltewah, boated in Pickwick, hiked in Georgia, lounged on the beach in Destin, enjoyed every minute of Costa Rica, and ran a 200-mile relay from Chattanooga to Nashville. I attended some pretty phenomenal music festivals, marked some big names off my Music Bucket List, and was introduced to some new favorites. And then I discovered the joy of occasionally not being on the road and spending time at home, embracing my family and friends, the rare rest break, and this city I love.

But much more importantly than any one of these items, or all of them combined, I saw God move in some mighty ways, and I was overwhelmed by His goodness. I witnessed my grandmother go to Heaven, the bondage of addiction broken, a valiant fight against cancer, the miracle of a desperate pregnancy, and comfort in the aftermath of tragic deaths. God did this. My faith and relationship with the Lord continue to grow as I learn how awesome my Savior is, and how desperately I need Him, and how precious I am in His sight. My prayer is to be more like Jesus in the upcoming year – to know Him and experience Him in a whole new way, to see things through His eyes, with His compassion and love for others, and to abide in Him with all things.

My life is full, and I am excited to see what 2011 has in store!