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In Defense Of The South

My resident state for the last several years is the butt of many jokes (made by myself, even) but I’ve seen personally that it’s a proud Southern state full of good people.  Of all colors.  Frankly, I’m sick of all the piling on the South that’s been going on this past week by people who feel it’s their duty to publicly stereotype and cluck their tongues at a whole section of the country they know little to nothing about and some haven’t even stepped foot in because it’s flyover country they’ve only seen from their first class airline seats.  Make fun of us all you want, write your fiery blog posts with the big words we Southerners can’t possibly understand, call our chunk of the country out on social media so you look enlightened and intelligent to your friends and associates.  The South has seen far worse. Hell, it’s brought far worse upon itself.

I’ve been to the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum and been moved to tears.  I’ve seen the 16th Street Baptist Church, where those 4 little girls were killed.  Go ahead, look it up.  Because some of the same ones yelling the loudest over the South’s mistakes (and they were awful and numerous mistakes), don’t even know why the 16th Street Baptist Church is significant.  So go ahead and Google that before you continue your stereotyping of the good Southern people who don’t deserve it.  I’ll wait.  It’s right across the street from the Civil Rights Museum for a reason, just a hint.

I was at the Civil Rights Museum as a chaperone with Gracie’s school field trip.  Even before you entered the museum, the atmosphere was reverential.  The only other place I’ve toured that was as reverential as the Civil Rights Museum was the Alamo (I’m a native Texan and we take the Alamo seriously, y’all).  The children even felt the gravity of the place.  That was the easiest time I’ve ever had chaperoning a school field trip.  They got it.  Those kids with the deep Southern accents that I couldn’t even understand when I first moved here, the deep accents I thought had to be put on, they GOT it.

Near the end of the tour, I was approached by an older man, a security guard there.  He was of color and he had the kindest eyes.  He quietly asked me what I thought of the museum and without even thinking, I said, “It’s beautiful and awful at the same time.  I loved being here today but I hate the reasons it has to be here”  He gave me a soft, understanding smile.  I bet my answer didn’t surprise him.  I bet he’s heard it hundreds of times.  I saw that sentiment in every person’s eyes I saw there that day.

The thing is, Birmingham isn’t exactly a “destination” city to most of the country.  Don’t hate me for saying that, Birmingham, but it’s the truth.  Most people choose to go to New York or California or Florida, the Grand Canyon, and all those other great locales.  Birmingham is a great city with a lot to offer, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve never seen anyone on Facebook or Twitter post a picture of downtown Birmingham cleverly shot with their fruity and tropical alcoholic drink just in frame with the caption “Vacation started?  Check.”  Doesn’t happen.  Corona will never come here to film a commercial.  We don’t drink Corona here anyway because the local brews are so much better.  Screw you, Corona.

So, if Birmingham isn’t exactly a destination city (or at least not a huge destination city as much of an injustice as that is), who actually DOES go to the Civil Rights Museum?  Who makes the Civil Rights Museum repeatedly appear at the top of every single search engine result for recommended places to visit in Alabama?  Sure, there are people who visit the museum from every part of the nation and even the world but here’s my theory regarding the majority of visitors.

It’s all the local schools.  Those local schools contain our future leaders and they are being taught at a very young age to respect Alabama history, the good and the bad.  Especially the bad.  And to learn from it so it will never be repeated again.

It’s people who live in Alabama or in the surrounding states, who just happen to be passing through Birmingham and say “Hey, let’s go check out the Civil Rights Museum while we’re passing by downtown Birmingham”, and then are moved more than they ever thought they could be.  Those surrounding states?  All of them belong to the collective, stereotyped, and recently very much maligned deep South.  Alabama is the heart of the deep South.  Look at the map, for crying out loud.  Except for Florida.  I don’t really consider them deep South but that’s just my personal opinion.  Nothing wrong with being Florida.  I love Florida.

Is there still racism in the South?  Yes.  Yes to infinity.  There is racism everywhere, against every color.  You can’t escape it no matter what we take away from people.  Evil will find a way to perpetuate evil, with or without a flag.  Long before there were guns, Cain killed Abel.

Should the Confederate flag be taken down?  In all government agencies, my opinion is most emphatically yes.  Should Bubba (see, I can Southern stereotype with the best of them) have the right to free speech that includes owning and displaying a flag that conjures up awful imagery, imagery that is our history brought down upon us by very bad people who died long before we were born?  My head struggles with our freedom to practice – guess what – free speech.

Bubba’s a dip shit who is relegated to the kid’s table every holiday but if we take away his freedom of speech, who and what is next?  That nice gay couple down the street and their gay pride flag bumper sticker?  Your right to say that you believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead at Easter by putting a flag with a crown of thorns on it in your well tended flower bed?  Where do we draw the line and still be consistent?  Admittedly, I’m still struggling with these questions.  That’s okay.  That shouldn’t make me a racist or lead to the (wrong) conclusion that I’m pro Confederate flag.  I’m neither of those things.

There aren’t many other states as aware of civil rights and the need for them than Alabama.  Birmingham and Alabama as a whole is the scene of the crime, y’all.  The past reverberates here daily it’s so tangible and so very real.  Give me one Southern racist and I’ll give you thousands of Southerners who would rewrite history if they only could.  Give me one disciple of hate and I’ll give you thousands of disciples of love for their fellow men and women of any color.

I saw on the local news that a neighboring town here was littered with KKK flyers over the weekend.  It was a mostly black neighborhood.  The news reporter interviewed the sweet lady who found a flyer in her yard on her way to church.  Being the media, no matter how small, the reporter asked the woman what she would say to the people (and I use that term loosely) who left that kind of hate material in her yard.  Instead of spewing even more hate, this remarkable lady didn’t take the bait.  She instantly and lovingly said “I’m gonna pray for them.”  I wanted to stand up in my living room and cheer.

Whenever we traveled in the past, people always asked us where we were from.  My family always said “Alabama”.  Up until about a year ago, I would quickly add, “We live in Alabama but we’re FROM Texas.”  I stopped saying that when I realized that my heart is in Alabama.  My heart is in Texas sometimes, how can it not be?  But Alabama is the home my kids have known the longest.  Alabama is the scene of the great majority of their childhood memories so far and will be for hopefully years to come since we made the deliberate choice to stay here and not to move again unless forced to.  My son requests that I play “Sweet Home Alabama” every time we cross the state line on our way home from Texas.  This is our home now not by chance but by choice.

Pray for the South.  Pray for the victims of hate, wherever they are.  Pray for Bubba, bless his heart.  But stop the collective hating and pigeon holing of the South when you’ve never bothered to witness our hospitality, drink our sweet tea, enjoy our BBQ, or had to make life changing decisions as a new resident about who you’re gonna root for in the Iron Bowl game for fear of the entire state ostracizing you for your complete and total lack of commitment and therefore character.  Whew, deep breath!  Really, they don’t care (well, they do) which way you go but you have to make a choice – Alabama or Auburn.

The South is made of far greater things than a flag, good things that can never be taken away from us.  The South is made of bad things that the great majority of us wish we could reverse but have no control over because, you know, it’s a bitch that we still don’t have time travel machines.  I wish you knew this.  I wish you knew that words mean nothing, except for this week, especially if you’re Southern.  I wish you knew the vast majority of Southern hearts and the good they hold for their brothers and sisters, no matter what color.  I wish you knew me better so I wouldn’t have to say the only words mandated and necessary to prove I’m a “good person” this week but I will.

Take the motherfucker down.

Tits And Bits

I have an ongoing list on my phone.  Whenever I have an idea for my blog (I DO have an idea occasionally, you bastards) I add it to the list.  After more than a year of writing this blog, I have a lot of ideas and reminders on this list.  Most are just one liners or something the kids or E said that was funny to me.  These things may or may not be enough material for a full blog post but they’re still worth sharing, in my opinion.  Your mileage may vary.  Tits and Bits will be the somewhat regular place I will dump share these things.

You might be asking “Steph, I see no tits nor bits here.  What’s up with that?”  Well, pervert, it’s just a Steph-ism born out of desperation.  My daughter takes the world’s longest showers.  Trust me on this.  I’m convinced she is solving the world’s hunger issues under a hot stream of water every single day.  I gave birth to a future Nobel Peace Prize winner here, y’all.  But one day sometime last year, we were in a super big hurry so to get my frantic message across to her, I yelled “We gotta go!  Tits and bits, just wash the tits and bits and call it good!”

So, no.  There will be no actual pictures of tits and bits but you could always hope I slip up and add one on accident, right?  Or not.  You didn’t have to yell “NO!” like that.  Hurtful.

Without further bullshitting, I hope you enjoy (fine, live through) the first ever Tits and Bits.  We’ll do this old school bullet style for all those OCD people out there.  You know who you are.

  • Landon was recapping my driving adventures one day on the phone with his grandparents.  He summed it up by saying “Mom scared the living daily crap out of me!”  That’s the only reason I became a mother – to scare the living daily crap out of my kids.  Job well done, self.
  • My good friend Fantasia is in the middle of construction on her new house.  I was in Texas a few months ago and we   were driving by the house to see the progress.  Fantasia was surprised to see the frame up and excitedly exclaimed “I have wood!”  Please leave your one liner responses in the comments.
  • E (returning home from a business trip):  “Why is there a bullet on my bedside table?”  Me:  “Do you really want to know?”  E (sighing):  “No.”
  • Gracie and I were watching an elaborate “Will you go to prom with me?” video last month.  I told her how ridiculous I thought it was that a simple prom invite is staged like a marriage proposal these days.  She asked how things were done in my day. “I was lucky to get a note written in red crayon with a check box for Yes or No,” I replied.  She said, “No, not in grade school.  How did you get asked out for your Senior prom?”  I said, “That WAS for my Senior prom!”
  • I was paying for parking at the airport exit and the attendant complimented my eyeshadow.  I told her, “It’s Stila Kitten.”  She looked at me like I was a nut job (shut up) and said, “STEAL A KITTEN?”  After I stopped laughing, I explained, “No, it’s the cult classic BY Stila in the color Kitten.”  I’d love to see her march into Ulta and ask to see the Steal A Kitten eyeshadow, though.
  • It is officially summer for my household!  I play this song for Gracie at the end of every school year. Loudly.  It’s sweet traditions like this, y’all, that they’ll remember.

  • And finally:

monday

I hope you enjoyed the very first edition of Tits and Bits.  It is 12:56 p.m. here and I’m going back for my second cup of coffee.  Don’t look at me that way.  It’s the first day of summer vacation, y’all!

Cough Syrup

I sat in a hotel room last night, more alone in every single sense I can think of, more than I’ve been in a long time, if ever.

I had a very early flight back to Alabama this morning, so I stayed close-ish to the airport since I had to be awake at 4 a.m.

At first, it was hell.  I don’t particularly like being alone with myself, truly alone, lately because that’s when No Bullshit Steph decides to give me all sorts of hell and it’s pretty hard to argue with No Bullshit Steph.  I try but she kicks my ass every single time.

No Bullshit Steph harasses me over my weight gain, tries to bully me into going to those stupid Mom Boot Camps at the gym.  I laugh at those Boot Camps and the Moms huffing and puffing to exercise 1st graders do without breaking a sweat.  Plus I’ve become violently allergic to any group gathering with “Mom” in the title.  I shut No Bullshit Steph down pretty quickly on this point by turning the NFL Draft on the television up even louder, opening another Shiner Bock and sticking a Butterfinger in my big, gaping maw.

No Bullshit Steph retreated to reload and was back again somewhere near the 21st pick of the first round.  I was three Shiners deep by then and we’ll just leave the Butterfinger count out of it.  This time, No Bullshit Steph wanted to talk about the fact that I’ve neglected my blog since December of last year.  I reminded her that E’s Dad had died, my Dad had two serious surgeries, our son is having more seizure activity, my good friend Freddie died.  I was about to go on but her snoring stopped me.  What a bitch.

I pelted No Bullshit Steph with the rest of my snack size Butterfingers until she woke up.  Big mistake.  Because then she wanted to know if Fred was such a good friend, why hadn’t I written the touching, hilarious blog dedicated to his memory that I’d promised to write when he died.  I gave her my “because after I write it, he’ll really be gone then” reason.  You really don’t want to know what she did with those Butterfingers then but we’ll say they were no longer edible.

Wisely knowing when to retreat, No Bullshit Steph left me with five simple words:  “Get your shit together, fucker”.

The NFL draft long forgotten, I sat on the couch and cried like a baby for about an hour, over a lot of things.  Mistakes, missed opportunities, failures, and the lies I’ve been telling myself and buying into these last few months.

My blog is me, the essence of me, in the form of words.  I usually like those words.  I usually like myself.  I haven’t been writing because I don’t want THAT Steph, the Steph of the last few months, given a voice.  THAT Steph has lost her fire, her spirit, her confidence, her faith, her joy, her trust, her essence and spark.  Those words and THAT Steph don’t deserve to be immortalized in writing.

I made myself get off the couch and I gave myself a facial (oh, shut UP, you disgusting perverts).  Then I took an incredibly hot shower with the scent of lavender surrounding me.  And then I went to bed and slept like the dead for the next four hours.  I didn’t dream, I don’t think I even moved or changed positions.  I didn’t put my headphones on to listen to music like I usually do.  It’s like my mind turned off and there was just me, just existing and breathing, no judging myself, no finger pointing, no excuses or cop outs.

I think everyone, especially women, should do this.  Go to a hotel alone for one night or however long it takes to get your shit together.  I didn’t leave that hotel room this morning totally new, with everything sorted out.  I did leave with a fresh slate, to fill however I choose.  The old, faded, sloppy writing is gone.  I wouldn’t say I’m totally at peace but the Steph that entered that hotel room feeling more alone than she’s ever felt, is grateful for that time now.  I’m ready to start filling in my clean slate with absolutely breathtaking things now because that’s what I deserve.  That’s what I’m worth.

This song has been given a workout the last few days on my Spotify account.  It feels like cough syrup has been forcibly fed to me, drop by drop, for the past few months.  But no more.  I drained that fucking cough syrup bottle last night, in a hotel room alone with the most memorable, kind, good, beautiful, brilliant, smart, hilarious, sincere, passionate, and irreplaceable person I know.  That’s me, dummy.  That person was me.  And she’s back.

Put A Ring On It

All you single people, I truly don’t mean to boast.  I don’t want to add further pain to your imminent solo, sexless weekend.  This post isn’t for you. 

This post is for the young, married couples who may be struggling right now through their third year together.  Maybe you’re in the dreaded seventh year of marriage and can’t stop contemplating how you could possibly get away with murder.  I’m not saying I’ve been there or anything but I’ve read about it. 

Hold on, dear ones.  Hold on tightly to that beast of burden man or woman because one sweet day, after almost 24 years of marriage, your heart could flutter with sweet anticipation like mine did today.

I had just texted E that our son’s baseball game is canceled tonight due to rain.  He proposed hearts, romance, and flowers.  Okay, he didn’t TYPE that but he was THINKING it.  Read for yourselves:

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I hope I’ve been able to encourage and inspire some of you hopeless bastards out there.  Y’all have a great weekend! 

Another Round Of Romantic Texting With Fantasia

I fly to Texas tomorrow night to attend my friend Freddie’s memorial service.  I’ll write a proper blog post about him in a week or so but he was an amazing man and a great friend.  He liked to rock, was a former drum player, and had a wicked sense of humor.  I already miss him.

Fred Man (what I called him) would send me funny pictures out of nowhere via text message and he loved reading all the crazy messages between our crazy group of girlfriends so I know he would get a kick out of these texts between my friend Fantasia and I yesterday:

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Hope y’all are having a great week! Now, go sext a friend!

This Is Halloween, Part One

My family loves Halloween.

This is usually exactly when the person I’m talking to or chatting with on Facebook says/writes “Oh, we do, too!”

No.  You don’t understand the level of our Halloween craziness.  Your $50 worth of 100% real juice fruit snacks for the neighborhood rug munchers (I once called toddlers that and my friend Lucinda immediately started laughing and informed me that I was using the wrong term but I’m sticking with “rug munchers”, damn it) and traditional delightful kitty cat costume isn’t really the same thing.  Bless your heart.

We used to live in a gated community in Texas where lots of young families lived.  Halloween was fun and festive and busy.  We’d answer our door and give the little rug munchers candy (not that fruit shit, damn it, it’s Halloween, people!) for about an hour, then we’d leave the huge bowl of future diabetes and death on our porch and the Honor System would reign while we took our kids around the neighborhood for their turn at the chocolate.  Or fruit snacks.  Bastards.

When we moved to Alabama, we chose an older home in an older neighborhood.  Newsflash:  80 year olds don’t like to trick or treat.  Our first Halloween here sucked.  It sucked so bad I think I would’ve taken those fruit snacks.

As the next Halloween was barreling down on us, I looked into going out of town, specifically to Disney World for their annual Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  This after hours, ticketed event happens during select nights in September and October and families are encouraged to dress up in costume.

I also discovered during that time that Universal Orlando was celebrating the 20th anniversary of Halloween Horror Nights.  It is also an after hours, ticketed event held on select nights in September and October.  Costumes are not allowed due to their Scare Actors, haunted houses, etc.

Our first year at Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) couldn’t have been better due to the 20th anniversary.  They brought several of the marquee “bad guys” back from previous years in celebration and it was mind blowing.  We had found our people.

Here are some pictures from our first HHN.  We really didn’t take that many because we were so overwhelmed by the event.

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Our first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) was also quite the event but much more family friendly.  We decided it would be more fun to go in themed costumes so with the popularity of Alice In Wonderland that year, we went with it.

Landon initially refused to be the Mad Hatter so we called a family conference.  I talked to Gracie beforehand and told her that we were going to offer him $20 to go as the Mad Hatter.  She was all in.  He rejected our $20 bribe and Gracie immediately slapped her hand on the coffee table and said “Okay, 50 bucks”! without consulting us.  He agreed to the $50, E and I noted that Gracie was a really shitty negotiator and have since elected not to include her in any costume bribery.

Landon turned out to be the hit of the night.  There were a few other Mad Hatters but none better than he was.  He stole the show from all of us (and that wasn’t the last time he “stole” our Disney thunder but more on that in Part 2) and he enjoyed every single minute of it.  Here are a few pics from that night.

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We have returned for both events ever since.  This will be our fifth year of celebrating Halloween week in Orlando and we are just as excited for it as we were the first time.

This year’s costumes are a secret and there have already been a few incorrect guesses from friends on Facebook.  I will reveal the costumes, with us in them, on October 30th, the night we attend the MNSSHP.

This will be our most epic year ever for costumes but before I get too far ahead of myself, I will be doing blog posts on each year we’ve attended the events and also include pictures of all our past costumes.

Stay tuned!  And return those 100% real juice fruit snacks to Walmart.  I mean it.

Bitches Gots To Learn: A Primer To Being Friends With Me During College Football Season

It’s college football season, which can only mean one thing:  I’m going to lose at least four friends before we hit New Year’s Eve if past seasons and the inherent assholery of some of my friends are any indications.

Last year, this meme was posted on my wall by different friends about six times:

Roll Mother Fucking Tide!

I’m just shocked they think I’m a classy lady all those other months.

Moving along, here is a College Football Season Code Of Conduct for friends who still want to see my Facebook statuses after January.

1.  Blood does not matter.  I have de-friended family due to their hard-ons for hating Alabama football.  Even when Bama won the game, Family Member Zeke would traipse his redneck ass over to my wall every damned Saturday (Thursday night games threw him off so I got a break on those) and point out what Saban & Co. did wrong with joyful, childlike, horrifically misspelled glee.  Zeke’s team wasn’t even playing Alabama.  That’s right, Zeke chose to be a douchebag when he didn’t even have a dog in the fight.  Zeke is dead to me.

2.  Do you go to church regularly?  Every Sunday, you say?  Well, friend, your chances of  being a total and complete jackass just went through the roof of Bryant Denny Stadium.  Church people are the worst about posting smack on my wall.  It’s incredibly difficult to follow the Minister of Music in singing “I’ll Fly Away” on Sunday morning when all your mental energy is focused on not charging the stage to rip out his spine in retaliation for blasting your team on Facebook a mere 12 hours earlier.  Church people, read the Ten Commandments before you come over to my wall to post that “really funny” anti-Bama meme.  God doesn’t like ugly, y’all.

3.  Would you like it if I shat on your team’s jersey, set it on fire and then threw it in your yard?  Yes?  You’re a sick fuck.  For the people who emphatically shook their heads “no”, this is for you.  My Facebook wall is my house, so to speak.  Do not come to my house and shit in my yard by posting a “really funny” Bama meme that you got from your Minister of Music’s wall (see Guideline 2, above).  Post what you want on your own wall but don’t you dare tag me in it.  That isn’t a loop hole, Einstein.  It’s the passive aggressive douche canoe way to do it, for sure, but it still counts as shitting on my lawn.  For my really crafty, local community college type of friends, typing my name in an anti-Bama post without tagging me in it also counts as shitting on my lawn.  You ain’t smart and you ain’t sneaky.  Just don’t do it.  I will not miss seeing your really bad haircut, pictures of your stubby toes sporting a brand new pedicure or your 4,200 calorie dinner on Facebook.  Try me, suckers.

4.  Did you go to school with me?  You have about a 99.7% chance of being a total twat waffle to me during college football season.  Former classmates, we lived in a very, very small town.  Males and females both, the following is for you:  I know what you looked like in school and I have pictures.  I won’t name names but I probably/definitely shot Elmer’s glue up your nose one day in retaliation for stealing my markers.  You used to bring the Sears catalog to school and point out which engagement ring you were going to buy me someday.  I might have accidentally pushed you off the monkey bars one day because you refused to quit pulling my pig tails even after I warned you to stop multiple times.  We stuffed our training bras together because, you know, girl unity and all that shit.  We traded Swatches in the hallway in between classes.  I was your lookout when you just had to smoke that cigarette in the girl’s bathroom.  I taught you how to kiss using the air and my own lips, bitch.  You used to listen to Sting incessantly and insisted on wearing nothing but trench coats because it “looked cool” and Sting-y.  I know who your very first kiss was, maybe even your first lay.  I helped cover for you when you were making out hot and heavy in the back of the band bus on the way back home from away games.  Do you really want to piss me off over a football game?  A game that includes the two-point conversion option, which I have had to explain to you multiple times?  I didn’t think so.

5.  Do you know someone who went to school with me and we became “friends” through witty banter on Facebook but you’ve never actually met me in real life? I’m not sure how to say this, but your chance of being the biggest ass clown in the world just went terminal.  There is no hope.  You have little or nothing at stake.  We have no past history so your dick grows ten times its normal size and you feel free to trash talk Bama at will to me.  I have lived without your ass for 44 years and I can live without it for another 44.  Tuck your tiny dick back in your pants and look up your own team’s stats for entertainment.

6.  Then there are those people who don’t get excited about college football until Alabama loses and makes a bit of room for their sucky team in the standings and then suddenly, THEY ARE ALL ABOUT THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL.  They want all the college football.  They haven’t posted once about college football all season but suddenly turn into Lee Corsos and Kirk Herbstreits right before my eyes when The Tide takes a licking or their team pulls their heads out of their asses long enough to finally pull a two game winning streak.  Football becomes EXCITING AND FUN.  I call these people “bandwagoners”.  I have gotten trash talk texts from people who have literally never texted me before, or at least in years, because Bama had a bad day.  Those people are usually the bandwagoners.   I have a new rule.  Instead of ignoring your pussy texts like I did last year, I’m going to update this blog post to include your picture then send you the link every hour, on the hour, for a full 24 hours after I receive your texts.  M’kay, sweetie?

7.  I am capable of calmly and rationally talking football with you.  If you want to engage in an unemotional, factual discussion about college football and you can resist buying into the hype and drivel the latest talking head on ESPN is spewing, let’s do it.  Just don’t try to tell me how much of a legend “Johnny Football” is (Kenny Hill just blew that two year long bullshit saga out of the water last night with his performance against South Carolina) or that Bumfuck State may be able to make a run to the big game because they have a new water boy.

8.  Know your own team.  I met a Texas A&M Aggie fan last summer.  He was in a big group of people I went out to dinner with back home and was proudly wearing his Aggie cap.  It was August and football camps had started.  He got this smug “Oh, this is cute, I’ll bash Bama football with a defenseless girl” look on his face and attempted to do just that.  It took very little time for me to discover that he didn’t even know the date of the upcoming Alabama vs. Aggie game or basic stats of the previous season’s game between our teams yet he proudly boasted and crowed about beating Bama.  He didn’t know who the Aggies were playing in the first game of the season.  I quickly relieved him of the notion that girls don’t know anything about football and I had the smug “Aren’t you cute?” look in the end.  Not to pick on Aggie fans, but I’ve also talked football with an Aggie who, although he most definitely knew who “Johnny Football” was, could not tell me the name of his Head Coach.  It’s Sumlin, by the way.  Don’t insult me by attempting to belittle my team when you don’t know shit about your own.

9.  There are exceptions to every rule.  Last year, someone tried to call me out on what they saw as inconsistency in doling out my football policy.  There is literally one person who can get away with (although I might not talk to his ass for a week or so) joking with me about Alabama football.  He is an Oklahoma Sooner fan and long before OU kicked Bama’s ass in the Sugar Bowl last season, he supported me.  He supported me as a friend because he’s certainly not a Bama fan.  He knows the emotion I have for my team because he has the same for his team.  He knows how completely gut wrenching and literally sickening it is when you lose a football game when you care so much, when your every Saturday is completely structured around your team’s game, when offseason is spent comparing recruit stats and Depth Chart Day actually means something.  There have been many times during a game when things were looking down for Bama and my friend would send me a message, pointing out Bama’s strengths and not our weaknesses, telling me and E not to go into a spiraling depression, that Bama’s “got this”, even when we didn’t believe they did.  His wife, who has family in Alabama, sent me an Alabama Scentsy warmer for Christmas.  These unseen-by-most and very rare acts of football fandom kindness earn them a bit of extra leeway.  If that means I’m a hypocrite, so be it.

10.  I’m leaving this one blank because I’m sure some dipshit will make me amend these guidelines sometime this football season.

Y’all support your teams, be your team’s biggest fan, get naked and wear your team’s colors all over your body on game day and please send me a picture if you do that.  But play nice.  Stick to your own wall and don’t shit in someone else’s yard.  I’ve done it, I’m not innocent but the last several years have really opened my eyes to what “friendly joking” is and isn’t.

Being an Alabama fan has provided me with lots of opportunities to boast.  Many, many times, I could have retaliated by posting memes and jokes on friend’s walls after Bama pummeled their team, after that friend had posted trash talk and memes on my wall the whole week before the game.  Some won’t believe this but I get the greatest satisfaction from winning by remaining silent.  If you have a huge dick, you don’t have to shove a tube sock down your pants.  Feel free to make that your Inspirational Quote Of The Day but be sure to credit me.  Oh… and ROLL DAMN TIDE!

My Two Cents On The Series Finale of True Blood

Blogger’s Note:  If I have to tell you there are SPOILERS ahead, just go.  I mean it.  Get the fuck off my blog.  Right now.

As my Mom used to say, “It’s better than a poke in the eye” and I have to agree.  Getting poked in the eye fucking hurts.  I don’t care what object was actually used to do the poking, it still hurts and it still sucks.

That’s about all I can come away with after watching the series finale of True Blood.  I don’t want this to be a long post and I won’t edit it too much.  I just want to get this over with.

Just a quick recap:  I read all the books but the last one (see my blog linked below for the reasons on that).  If you read the books, you went into this HBO series with completely different expectations and desires than the average viewer.  Flipping actual pages of a book, bending the corners of those pages to mark your place (which I do and it drives my children crazy), actually sobbing at the end of a book, it puts you in a different category as a fan.  It just does.  So if my opinions sound harsh or not what you came away with as just a viewer of the show and not a reader of the books also, it is what it is.  I can’t unlink my book knowledge of the characters from my opinion of the show characters.  That is impossible for me.

I wasn’t expecting much.  Charlaine Harris had already fucked up the books for me and although the series wasn’t even remotely following the books after a couple seasons in, I feared that HBO would do the same.  And they did.  Yet they didn’t.  I’ll break it down in bullet points so we can all move on with our lives without the 1,000 year old Viking warrior that was Eric Northman.

• Bill was a selfish bastard to the very end even if HBO did try their best to make him look like a hero.  I’m glad he died, unlike his fate in the book series.  I’m especially glad that Sookie staked him.  He asked her to give up her “light”, the very thing that made her special, in order for him to no longer suffer and to meet the True Death.  Oh, and as a side benefit to Sookie (my ass), by expending all her “light” on him and becoming normal, she would draw no other vampires to her in the future after he was gone.  What a fucking ass hole of a vampire.  Sure, I guess if he hadn’t been such an ass hole to Sookie for the entire book series and most of the TV series his “intentions” might have been honorable and all that other Southern shit that HBO made us try to believe.  You know what I heard the whole time Bill was going on about “love” and “honor” and all his other tiresome deathbed yammering?  Charlie Brown’s fucking teacher, wonking away in the background, completely unintelligible.  Do not forget that this same “Southern Gentleman Vampire” brutally raped and nearly drained Sookie in the trunk of a car in the third book of the series “Club Dead.”  Tortured and crazed for blood, yes he was, but you cannot tell me Eric Northman would ever have done that in the exact same circumstance.  In the end, Sookie had the most amount of common sense she has ever had, put herself first, saved her light and just staked Bill’s sorry ass.  Bravo, Sookie.

• I’m glad Hoyt and Jessica ended up together.  Jessica was a TV series character, she was never in the books.  I cried like a baby when Hoyt asked Jessica to glamour him to forget all about her and Jason’s betrayal a few seasons back.  I like the way Bill tied up his estate with Andy and made it so Jessica would get the house, even if it wasn’t legal.

• Sheriff Andy was kind of a one dimensional character in the books.  The TV series made him much more than that and I immensely enjoyed just about all his screen time over the years.  He was the quintessential extremely simple Southern man, easily flabbergasted by women, short on words and patience with just about everyone, yet absolutely delightful when love overwhelmed him and he let the words spill out.  I like that he ended up with Holly, a practicing Wiccan, and probably the only woman who could possibly live with him and his stubborn nature.

• Jason settled down and married eventually in the books but as a werepanther.  Yeah, don’t ask.  He basically got the same treatment in the TV series, except he didn’t have to worry about turning into a panther once a month.  I loved Jason’s scenes because he was always Jason and never something he wasn’t.  Simple, easy, basic and yet so endearing.

• I’m glad Vampire Keith and Arlene ended up together.  I remember a few episodes ago, though, that I wished they wouldn’t make Arlene look and act like such a caricature all the time.  Why couldn’t she and Keith have some truly sexy scenes?  Yes, Arlene was a carrier of Hep V so they couldn’t have sex before the cure was produced but I would have loved to see Arlene stop sputtering like a sixteen year old virgin and just be the sexy woman I know she was capable of being.  She wasn’t such a lovable character in the books and actually tried to kill Sookie and did prison time for it.  I’m glad she was a friend and confidante to Sookie in the TV series.

• Sookie ended up with Sam at the end of the book series, which I absolutely hated.  They had never once been together throughout the whole series and then they ride off into the sunset together.  Granted, I know love can change quickly, from one kind to another and friends fall in love all the time but I thought it was a cop out to end the book series that way.  It was way too easy.  I actually thought that was still an option for the TV series.  Nicole would die during childbirth and Sam would hightail it back to Bon Temps, baby in hand and boom!  A ready made family for Sookie.  HBO did not do that and I’m happy about it.  I always liked Sam as a book character and as a TV character but I never felt chemistry between him and Sookie in either book or TV form.  They were really good friends who loved each other.  Yes, Sam could have and probably did love her as more than a friend but it was never there on Sookie’s part, past the friendship aspect.

• Tara was never a very big part of the books.  She most certainly was never a vampire.  I’m glad she died.  That is all.

• Lafayette lived.  I cannot be happier about this.  He was killed off way too early in the books, even though he was already a treasured character.  He and Vampire James ended up together and that makes me happy also.  I feel like I’ve lost a friend and I’ll miss seeing Lafayette but will honor him by attempting to wear purple eyeshadow half as gracefully as he did and never, ever taking bullshit from anyone.

• Pam had the most and best one liners in this entire series.  She was mostly the exact Pam from the books, with her sharp tongue and wit, except she actually kind of became friends with Sookie in the books and I liked that.  I will miss Pam’s fashion sense and especially her own special terms like “Republicunt” and then there’s this one outburst:  “I’m so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her unbelievably stupid name!”  Pam and I could have been great friends.

• I have never liked blonde men (and still don’t) but made an exception for Eric Northman.  Eric went out as Eric.  I had a feeling last week’s scene between Eric and Sookie would be their last but at least HBO made it special.  He flew Sookie home, as in literally flew her home since he had the ability to fly, as only Eric could do.  The last words we as fans heard from his lips to Sookie was a very pained, restrained “Goodnight, Miss Stackhouse.”  I cried.  As big of a jerk as he could be at times, as shitty as Charlaine Harris wrote him in the books, he was the only vampire who could have possibly deserved Sookie, although I don’t think Sookie deserved him.  I could write chapters about Eric Northman.  In the end, he was back on his throne in Shreveport at Fangtasia, ruling the world with New Blood and giving Sarah Newlin what she deserved with Pam as his ever loyal sidekick.  I’m grateful for at least that.

• Sookie ended up very pregnant and with some mystery bearded stud.  It wasn’t the ending I wanted but I suppose it was the best they could have done for me without getting Eric and Sookie together finally.  Sookie kept her light and is still fae.  Eric is just an hour down the road in Shreveport.  Men in Bon Temps die all the time.  In my head, Eric still has a chance.  🙂

I will miss you, True Blood, despite your crazy plot turns and twists that didn’t make any sense, despite the fact that Sookie Stackhouse was quite possibly the stupidest heroine of all time, despite the fact that Bill should have died a merciless death seasons ago, despite the fact that Eric deserved more.  The series finale was titled “Thank You” and I do thank you, if only for this:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariellecalderon/the-36-best-eric-northman-moments-from-true-blood?utm_term=3av7q6g

What did you love or hate about this last season of True Blood?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Throwback Tuesday: Let Me Borrow That Top, Bitch

Blogger’s note:  It was still Tuesday when I started writing this but time happened.  And beer.

When Fantasia and Lucinda came to my hometown for the grand opening of my brother’s new bar, we had a bit of down time during the day at the hotel.  We were sitting on the beds, just catching up and laughing, always laughing.  Lucinda, who not only knows about my worst closeted skeletons but also participated in some of them, giggled and said “You have to show Fantasia your Texas driver’s license”.

I have known Lucinda as long as I have Fantasia.  Not much about my appearance had changed between the time my Texas driver’s license photo was taken and when I met the girls.  Maybe really good friends block out incredibly bad haircuts and extra weight.  Maybe they saw the current version of myself six years ago as I was just starting to scramble out of that cocoon I’d built around myself.  Maybe they only saw the good parts of me because that’s what people who love you do.  Regardless, the license picture shouldn’t have been that big of a surprise to Fantasia.

I still carry my Texas driver’s license in my wallet as a reminder to myself on my worst days of how far I’ve come.  Lucinda knew that so I dug around, found my old license and presented it to Fantasia, who promptly laughed so hard and for so long, she almost puked and nearly fell off the bed.  I took it as a compliment.

I wasn’t always the way I am now.  I’ve lost and gained a lot of weight over the past six years but overall, I’m still around 70 pounds lighter than I used to be.  I was rather uptight when I was younger also.  I’m incredibly shy and although you may think that’s not true, I call few people “close friends”.  Unless I’m back home in Texas, I’d rather watch a movie or listen to new music alone than be out with a crowd of people.  My fashion taste was fucked up.  I’ll just lay that out right now.  I’m not sure if it was due to my weight or being a new Mom to a child with health problems, just trying to survive day to day, but I wish someone would have snatched the Keds off my feet and used them to beat some fashion sense into me.

Let’s back it up a bit.  It’s Texas law that as long as you don’t mind using your old picture, you can renew your driver’s license online.  That was what I did when we moved to Alabama.  We had literally just gotten here and were staying at an extended stay hotel.  Our house in Texas was on the market and we were looking for a house here.  I didn’t even have a permanent address, technically, so I just renewed it online to buy some time.

When this photo was taken, Landon was two years old.  He was sitting in his stroller and right before the picture was taken, he amused the teenagers behind us by belching.  Loudly.  I’d like to blame this picture on that incident but I’m even calling bullshit on myself on that one.  Behold, the old Steph.

Let me borrow that top, bitch.

Let me borrow that top, bitch.

I don’t know where to start.  I need a beer.  Hold on.

The hair:  Oh, the hair.  I’m not sure if I was going for a Dorothy Hamill or if I was wrestling with my sexuality.  Now I’m just insulting lesbians in my shame and pain.  I’m so sorry, my lesbian friends.  You don’t deserve that.  Dorothy Hamill totally did, though.

The earrings:  I can’t even wear earrings.  I gave up long ago due to very sensitive ears so those had to be clip-ons.  I don’t frown upon clip-ons, I still wear them for dressy occasions but they are mostly devices of torture I choose to go without.  Maybe I was into pain at the time.  Or they were edible.

The makeup:  What makeup?  I could literally contain my whole makeup collection at that time in one makeup bag.  It looks like I threw on some grandma rouge and matching lipstick I bought from Avon.

The sweater:  I can recall perfectly where I bought that sweater.  I found that gem at JC Penney and the brand was Alfred Dunner.  You’ve never heard of Alfred Dunner?  That’s because you need a fucking AARP card to even get into the Alfred Dunner section at JC Penney.  I must have had a real hard on for that sweater to evade being carded.  It also had cherries on it.  Betty White would kick my ass if she saw me wearing that sweater out in public.  She probably will still kick my ass after reading this even though I haven’t owned that sweater in over a decade and I deserve that ass kicking.

Oh, dear God, please tell me my clip-on earrings aren’t cherries.  I need another drink.

Shortly after getting settled into our current home, I tried to be an upstanding citizen and ventured down to the DMV to get my Alabama license.  I was told that I had the “wrong” birth certificate, even though I had my original in hand.  I eventually obtained the correct copy with the official Texas seal on it that Alabama deemed necessary but I was kind of over Alabama by then, took my ball home and told Alabama to go fuck themselves.

So, I had been driving around Alabama illegally for six years with a Texas driver’s license.  Yeah, yeah.  Lock me up and throw away the key.  I’m a real badass.  We were getting ready to leave for our cruise this past March and my Texas driver’s license had finally expired in January.  I have a passport but E, as usual, was the adult in this marriage and harangued me into getting my shit in order.

Several locals told me to go to Bumfuck, Bama to get my license.  At the time, you could easily spend half your day in line at a Birmingham DMV.  Bumfuck is one county over, about a 30 minute drive.  I was told that if I hit it just right, I’d have little to no wait but there was a caveat.  The caveat was that there was one woman who worked the entire department.  She’s been there for years and is rather abrupt.  “Abrupt” was the kindest description I heard, bless her heart, and it was incredibly accurate.  I was also warned by almost everyone that this lovely lady seemed to go out of her way to take the worst possible DMV photo of you ever.  It’s like she got bonuses for making you look like a backwoods fucktard.

I had been living with that picture on my Texas driver’s license for 15 years and I despised it.  I wasn’t that person anymore.  No one even believed it was me anyway when I did have to show it.  I almost didn’t make it through Customs when we returned from a cruise two years ago.  I didn’t have my passport at the time so I used my Texas license as ID and I almost didn’t make it through because the difference between the current me and that photo is just too much.

I was determined the real, new me would show through in my new license picture.  I mentally prepared myself for this picture.  I was like Rambo, going into battle.  I was ready.  This was going to be my first ever actually good DMV photo.  It was the DMV bitch versus me and DMV bitch was going down.

Take your best shot, bitch.

That all you got, DMV bitch?

I kicked DMV bitch’s ass.  Fantasia, through her laughter, said my facial expression is all plucky and “Fuck you” and I agree.  I had to show my new license at Sephora about a month ago.  The young cashier looked at the picture then said “That’s a really good license picture!”  And I agree with that also.  It’s the best government photo I’ve ever had taken.  I’m coming for you next, you Sam’s Club bastards!

What was your worst government issued picture ever?  Spill in the comments.  Bonus points if you post the picture!

Dude Looks Like A Lady, The Finale

This concludes the documentation of the grand opening of my brother’s bar and the girl’s night out with Lucinda and Fantasia.  I bet you just peed in your pants a little, didn’t you?  Just nod your head yes so we can still be friends.

Lucinda and Fantasia made it to town with zero ass rapes, which is always a good way to start your girl’s weekend unless you live in Kentucky.

The girls met me at the bar because I was finishing up the revamping of the backstage dressing room.  I basically manhandled my brother (hereafter known as “Duke”) into letting me do something, anything to it.  There was low pile beige carpeting on the walls.  I don’t know what these drag queens do backstage during their transformations but walking on the carpeted walls is apparently one activity because the carpet was in awful shape.

Duke didn’t want to do anything that would wreck the queen’s dresses (like paint) on Saturday night and after some wailing and gnashing of teeth, I told him to just let me do something to it as a birthday and grand opening present for him.  He never did really say “no” so off to Hobby Lobby I went.

39 yards of black tulle, several hours over the rest of the week, and much sweat later, it looked much better.  The dressing room will still have to be dealt with but at least I took that off of Duke’s plate for a while, anyway.  Here’s the before and after:

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We planned on taking a cab back to the hotel when the bar closed so we needed a ride to get there.  My mom was going to the bar for just a bit and leaving early so she came to the hotel and picked us up.  It is a strange feeling to be driven to a bar by your mom.  Fantasia said she felt like she was a teenager and one of our moms was dropping us off at the skating rink.  You know, if the skating rink served alcohol and had dudes dressed up like ladies.

We arrived and the club was packed.  Luckily, Duke had set us up a reserved table right on the dance floor and to the side of the stage, excellent seats.  Duke also assigned us a very cute waiter whose uniform consisted of tight pants and a leather vest.

We were seated at our table with our first round of drinks when a super hot badass from the table next to us approached.  “Yvette” asked which one of us was Duke’s sister (we got that a LOT that night).  She introduced herself and informed us that she had been charged with keeping our Fuckery Level in check for the night.  Apparently, our reputations preceeded us.

I suggested that our Fuckery Level be somewhere around 7, on a scale of 1 to 10.  Yvette said we couldn’t handle Fuckery Level 7.  I told Yvette that the lovely ladies on the other side of us had agreed to let us dance on the tables as long as we only danced on their table, which I thought was completely fair.  Yvette said that would be way off her Fuckery Charts and discouraged us from doing that.  After some speedy and convincing negotiation, I got Yvette to agree to Fuckery Level 5, adjusting as needed throughout the night.  Compromise.  It’s all about compromise, people.

Yvette would make eye contact with us throughout the night and if our Fuckery Level was on track, she’d give us a thumbs up.  Needless to say, that didn’t happen often and most of them time her hands were motioning to take the Fuckery Level down.  We did not take the Fuckery Level down.  By the end of the night, I had pushed our table together with hers and we were dancing with her and her friends.  We had a blast and Yvette rocks in my book.

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I had met a couple of the ladies sitting on the other side of us earlier in the week.  They spent many hours helping my brother renovate the bar and were there the day of the show, helping set up lights and tables, etc.  They have been nothing but good friends to Duke.  They are some of the best people on earth, from what I witnessed that week.  “Sandy” came over and handed me a shot of something and I refused to do it without her.  A shot was quickly poured for her, we toasted and shot.

Around that time, the show started and what a show it was.  The ladies gave it their all, busted some moves I would never have been able to recover from and one in particular had much better and more realistic breasts than Lucinda, Fantasia or I have combined.  The queens were gorgeous.  Fantasia was gracious enough to share her one hundred dollar bills with me and Lucinda.  I think we put it to very good use.

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All in all, I think we straight girls handled our drunken asses pretty well because at 1:00 a.m., Sandy asked us to join her and her friends at IHOP.  We had to decline because we were in it for the long haul.  We were going to shut the bar down and we did so to the tune of Semisonic’s “Closing Time”.

Duke called us a cab and we were lucky enough to get Barbara, a very sweet older lady.  It was somehow decided on the way back to the hotel that we were hungry and needed to eat.  We told Barbara to drop us off at the hotel and we’d walk across the street to Jack In The Box.  We paid the cab fare (actually, I don’t even remember who paid for it) and lumbered out of the cab.  Barbara saw us standing there, me holding my shoes, and said “Get back in”.  She took us through the very busy drive through and didn’t even run the meter.  Barbara was cool.

We made it back to the hotel room with one burger and six tacos, Fantasia insisting this was agreed upon by all of us.  I remember nothing of the food negotiations or who paid for said food but by that time, I was not well and the room was spinning.

I was in bed, curled into the fetal position.  Lucinda got me set up with a trash can (I have never puked while drunk or hungover but this was the closest I’ve ever gotten).  I pulled off my false eyelashes and whined about forgetting to take my nerve pills, which I actually have a hard time sleeping without even with alcohol.  Lucinda found my nerve pills in my massive purse, retrieved the amount I told her to and placed them on my waiting tongue.  Fantasia did not think this was a good idea considering the amount of alcohol I had in my system.  While Fantasia and Lucinda debated my best interests, I waited for an agreement to be made with my tongue stuck out, nerve pills clinging to it undissolved.  Fantasia said she just didn’t want her fingerprints on the bottle if I pulled a Belushi so Lucinda scraped two off my tongue and put them back in the prescription bottle.

Note to all the rock stars out there:  Do not count on Fantasia when the morning after shit hits the fan.

My lips became parched with all the waiting around with my tongue sticking out so Lucinda rifled through my purse again, found some MAC lip gloss and applied it to my puckered lips.  She’s a good friend.  In a probable attempt to escape my drunken, needy ass, Lucinda announced she was going to take a shower and left me and Fantasia alone.

You don’t really know a person until you’re left alone in a very dark room with them while you’re drunk, a very dark room which was spinning from my perspective.  Fantasia offered me a taco.  I groaned and managed to shoot her the middle finger.  This did not deter her.  After every offer of a taco, I heard a very clear, distinct crunch sound.  It sounded like Sadistic Pac Man, eating tacos on the bed next to me, except I never heard her chew in between bites.  All I heard was “Want a taco?  It’ll make you feel better.”  CRUNCH.  “These are so good.  So greasy.”  CRUNCH.  “Eat a taco, the grease going down your throat and into your stomach will help.”  CRUNCH.  I’m pretty sure I passed out with my middle finger in the air.

I got my revenge on Fantasia a couple hours later.  I had to go to the bathroom and when I stood up, I lost my balance and bumped into Fantasia’s bed, scaring the shit out of her.  I wish I had videotaped it.  I attempted to make eye contact with her in the extremely dark room and said “It’s just me!  It’s just me”!  before going in search of the bathroom.  And might I say hotel rooms have way too many damned doors.  They do that shit just to fuck with drunk people.

It was a night to remember (and I do remember most of it) and such a hit that the girls want to make it a yearly tradition.  I may be ready to do this again by next summer.  Maybe.