Dog Days of Christmas

December 8, 2016 - Leave a Response

Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a pet all dressed up in a Santa suit… or better yet, a gigantic pair of antlers!  Why– WHY do people do this to their best friend?




To be clear, I’m not trying to bully or shame anyone out of putting a picture of their pet on a Christmas card.  A lot of them are adorable, but I think we can all agree that SOMETIMES… owners miss the mark!  Since there’s no playbook for choosing the right photo, I thought I’d come up with a few friendly “rules of thumb” that might help the selection process run more smoothly this year.


Rule #1:  Refrain from using photos in which your animals look paralyzed by fear


There’s no shortage of these pics floating around on the internet, so we’ll just use this one as an example.  If the lights on the Christmas tree make your cat look like he or she could use a big dose of Prozac… I’d probably shy away from going with that one.  People generally find it unsettling to receive a holiday card with a “terror” theme.

Let’s face it- the holidays can generate a lot of stress and anxiety.  Why exacerbate the situation by having your friends and family plaster this on their fridge for a month?

Rule #2:  Think about what your pet seems to be saying with their eyes



I’m no dog whisperer, but what I see here is a combination of suspicion and suppressed rage.  It’s as if the dog is thinking…

“What’s the postman going to say when this gets out?  I’m not a festive dog!  I don’t DO cardigans or big, fancy collars.  At least I successfully destroyed that ridiculous beard they were trying to strap onto my head.  Why does this photographer keep calling me ‘little guy’.  These jaws are strong, my friend!”



Don’t even get me started with this cat OR the creepy guy behind him.  Let’s just say- if you wind up brutally murdered after the holidays- investigators will likely consider this a strong lead in your case.

At least the picture will allow members of the public to help with the search for your killers.  Think “wanted poster”.

Seriously, who needs all this negative energy swirling around, so close to Christmas?

 #3- Use pictures that don’t leave the audience wondering whether your pet is dead or alive.



Out of concern, I reached out to some local taxidermists about this particular animal.  No one remembers “working” with him, so we’ll assume the dog is alive.

I think it’s ALSO safe to ASSUME that this dog had to be heavily sedated before agreeing to wear a pair of oversized antlers and be photographed.  Not cool!


If you’re hell-bent on going with a sleeping shot… try something like this!



Obviously, it’s photo-shopped, but what picture isn’t, these days?  Families are now aging in reverse, with each passing year.  If the cards I receive don’t have names printed on them, I can barely tell who they’re from.

#4- Try not to use pictures that feature your pet doing something unnatural



Dogs pant.  It’s perfectly normal!

Cats don’t!  It’s a sign of distress… a CRY FOR HELP, that happens as they’re teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown.  Let’s just leave it at that!




#5- Lastly, I would be very cautious of sending out photos that make your pet look like hostages or members of a cult                                                     





If you’re looking for an idea that will REALLY get people’s attention this year… go with funny.   That’s always in style!  

Merry Christmas!


“Power Struggle”

December 29, 2015 - 19 Responses

Technology is slowly, but surely, tearing our family apart.  (Spoiler Alert: This probably isn’t headed where you think it is.)  Specifically, I’m referring to the fact that I spent roughly 10% of my annual paycheck on chargers, cubes, headphones, ear buds, etc., yet I can NEVER find any of them.  Why?  Because the children steal them, lose them, and then lie about it.

Last night, I got a rare burst of energy and decided to get on the treadmill.  There wasn’t a single pair of headphones in the house.  I even searched the children’s favorite hiding places- nothing.  Naturally, I found half a dozen pairs that are no longer compatible!  Thanks to Apple, I might as well just set fire to those.

It’s not just the theft of physical property that’s driving a wedge between us.  My daughter also has a habit of “accidentally” stealing things electronically.  Last week, someone gave me an Itunes gift card that had apparently fallen out of a Christmas card into the floorboard of my car.  Within an hour, she had not only located it, but she had also downloaded it onto her phone.  Only AFTER I had spent a half-hour on the phone with a customer service agent, did she finally come clean and admitted… “Oh, I thought that was for me!”  She also likes to log into my Spotify account, then change the password so I don’t interrupt her online streaming.  Not cute!

While I sometimes want to choke her until she turns blue, I also can’t deny the fact that she belongs to me.  Neither of us have ever walked out of the house with a fully charged phone.  This is a recipe for disaster because the ONE CORD no one ever steals, is in my car.  Did you notice the fact that I said one.  That means we’re consistently fighting over it.  This is a real conversation we had in the car just this week.

Me:  “Hey, can you plug in my phone? It’s dying.”

Her:  “I’m using it to listen to Spotify.”

Me:  “I don’t care!  You can listen to the radio.”

Her: “But it’s charging my phone, while we listen.”

Me:  “WE aren’t listening, YOU are!  Give me the freaking cord!  My battery is almost dead!”

Her:  “What percentage?”

Me:  “What language are you speaking?  Give me the cord!”

Her:  “I’m just saying… I’m at 11%.  If your percentage is higher, this really isn’t fair.”

… And so it goes. What I’ve deduced from all of this is very simple. Our parents really had it easy!  These days, the power struggle between a parent and a teen… is more real than I ever imagined!

“Confessions from a news car”

November 13, 2015 - 10 Responses

Even though I’ve been doing this for more than 2 decades, it’s still sometimes a little mind-blowing how much time we spend in the car.  I mean… for the 2 minutes of television magic each reporter delivers at the end of every day, you’d think we might spent an hour, maybe an hour and a half a day in the car, tops!  The truth is… it’s more like 2½ to 4 hours a day!

Some parts of it aren’t so bad!  For example, I can tell you where every meat and 3 is within a 12 county radius.  I know where all the cheap gas is!  But there ARE some days when the drive really starts to wear thin.  Think back to the movie “Castaway”, starring Tom Hanks.  I always wondered how he became delirious enough to name and befriend a soccer ball, but I think I’m starting to get the picture!

I don’t like to name names, but for the purpose of this blog… I will!  Earlier this week, me and a photographer, who we’ll call “Jason Clouse”, had to drive all the way to LaFayette, TN to knock on 2 doors.  We killed the first hour taking jabs at the callers on sports talk radio.  To be clear… I know almost NOTHING about sports, but I do have opinions about a lot of things, so listening to these shows is sort of a guilty pleasure for me.

Hour 2, we ate a sack full of Krystal burgers out of our lap, and lamented about the scenery.  It was hour 3 when things became gravely silent, and suddenly took a bizarre turn.

We had basically run out of things to talk about when Tim McGraw’s song, “Live Like You were Dying” started playing on the radio.  Here’s a little snippet of the conversation that went down.

Me:  “I love this song, but it always makes me sad.”

Jason:  Hmmph!

Me:  “What?!  You don’t think it’s kind of sad?

Jason:  “Yeah… I guess.”

Me:  “I mean, he’s obviously talking about his dad, who died of cancer.”

(I love how I say this like I’m a close personal friend of late baseball great, Tug McGraw!)

Jason:  “Yeah, I get it! I mean I think we all agree with the general principle, we’re just too busy LIVING!”

Me:  “What do you mean?”

Jason:  “I mean, it’s just a little impractical, isn’t it?  Most of the things I would do if I were dying, I can’t do because I’m not!”

Me:  “You’re not what?”

Jason:  “DYING!”

Me:  “Wow.  I guess you’re right!  Most of the things I’d do would probably either get me fired or killed.”

Jason:  “Exactly!”

Me:  “I mean, Tim makes it sound so adventurous to ride a bull named ‘Fu Man Chu’, but realistically… I’d probably wind up on some kind of disability, unable to take care of my 14 year-old daughter.”

Jason:  “That’s what I’m talking about!  Plus, I thought you were afraid of heights?”

Me:  “Yeah, so what?”

Jason:  “So… you’re saying that “IF” you were dying, you would somehow muster up the courage to jump out of a plane?”

Me:  “No! I wouldn’t do that if someone put a gun to my head!”

Jason:  “Ok, so now the bull riding and the skydiving are out!  What about fishing?  Are you into that?”

Me:  “Well, I like to EAT fish… preferably fried catfish!”

Jason:  “Tim says nothing about EATING fish!  He references GOING fishing!”

Me:  “Gosh, I’m batting a thousand here, so far.”

Jason:  “So let’s cut to the chase.  What WOULD you do if you were dying?”

Me:  “I don’t know!  Geez!  Now I feel pressured.  I guess I’d travel, spend more time with my daughter, volunteer.”

Jason:  “So why don’t you do those things now?”

Me:  “Ummm… because I have a JOB, bills to pay.  What am I supposed to do, just go play around all day long and be altruistic?”

Jason:  “That’s my point!  The only way to ‘live like you’re dying’ is to receive some death sentence from a doctor.  No thanks!”

Me:  “I guess I never thought about it like that.  Good talk!”

Hour 4… silence.

News people– we’re a jaded bunch!

“Insanity Redefined”

October 31, 2014 - 2 Responses

A lot of people define insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”  I like to think of it as, “Buying things ‘As seen on T.V.’ and expecting them to actually work like they did in the commercial.”  I learned this very tough lesson again this week, and for some reason, I feel compelled to enlighten everyone on this Friday.

For months, my daughter and I have been subjected to the “Purrfect Arch” commercial, and unless, you’ve been living in an Amish community or subjected to a television ban… my guess is that you’ve seen it too.  It’s the one featuring a Siamese show cat, circling what looks to be a gigantic toilet bowl cleaner in a state of complete nirvana!  I would love to say that I watched this commercial, with only the happiness of my two cats in mind, but the truth is… it was the contraption’s dual purpose feature as a “hair removal system” that had me reaching for the phone.

You see… until recently, I’ve been under some false impression that my SHORT HAIRED cats don’t shed, but reality came crashing down on me a couple of weeks ago, when my mother popped by with a housewarming gift: AKA a Shark vacuum cleaner!  Though this product is also “seen on T.V.” it actually works.  In fact, it may work TOO well, because after my first pass of the downstairs, it became clear to me that the cats DO shed.  They shed a lot!

Realizing that no amount of denial on my part was going to solve the problem, I have become obsessed with trying to figure out how to fix this problem.  If I’m honest… it’s not so much the hair itself that bothers me.  It’s the fear that if I don’t get this resolved quickly, my family may wind up the victims of some embarrasing reality show intervention, where our friends and family come forward to set the record straight, once and for all!  This… is how the “Purrfect Arch” crept back onto my radar.

As I was getting ready for work on Wednesday, with CNN blaring through the house, I heard it!  That ridiculous woman’s voice was droning on and on about the magical cat grooming toy.  I nearly poked myself in the eye with my mascara, before rushing into the bedroom to jot down the 1-800 number.  Of course… I missed it again!  At that point, I was too discombobulated and late for work, to remember that I pay good money for a DVR designed to prevent such tragedies.  On the bright side, I DID manage to get in there in time to catch the name of the product.  I made a mental “note to self” that I should get on-line later and look it up.  After all… who could forget a name like Purrfect Arch?  As it turns out… me!

Instead of beating myself up, as usual, I convinced myself that it was a sign from God that neither I, nor my cats, truly needed this thing.  There was just ONE nagging thought!  The lady on the commercial said they were now offering TWO perfect arches for the price of one!  At $10/arch… I’d be INSANE not to get one… right?  I quickly dismissed the whole idea.  I mean, let’s be honest, if the arch was THAT great, they wouldn’t be discounting it!  Whew!  I had rationalized my way out of this purchase, yet again… until last night!

Right there in the middle of a late night Walgreen’s run, there it was… the arch!  Ok… so I didn’t actually stumble over it walking through the front door.  I had to walk down the “As Seen on TV” aisle, but nevertheless… it was there!  My daughter and I couldn’t get home and get the thing set up fast enough.  Imagine how happy these guys are going to be!

It’s a good thing we both have vivid imaginations because, in reality… NOTHING happened!  Initially, the two of them just stared at it from a distance, with disdain.  Eventually, the curious one (Who we’ll call Chang) discovered the “catnip-infused carpet” base, and started digging his way to China… before darting off like a meth addict.  Of course, he was very cautious not to let any of the toilet bowl bristles muss up his thick coat of fur!

Right about the time I began thinking… “I could have just gone out back, set fire to a 20 dollar-bill, and saved myself a lot of trouble”… I looked over at my daughter, and we both burst into laughter at the absurdity of it all.  Maybe buying the “Purrfect Arch” wasn’t so insane, after all!  Maybe this was just one of those reminders that so few things in life ever turn out the way you think… and sometimes, it’s ok to laugh about it!  Happy Halloween!

“As seen on TV”


“As seen in my Dining Room”


“As Seen on after my cats found it”



“Grocery Store Diaries”

July 11, 2014 - 2 Responses

     There are things in life that I dislike, and then there are things that I despise. Going to the grocery would have to rank right up there near the top of category number two. I would rather do almost ANYTHING than pull into the parking lot of a grocery… clean the toilet, empty the cat’s litter box, hand wax our floors, you name it! Part of it has to be the procrastination factor. I’ve usually put it off for so long that no standard size grocery cart could ever possibly accommodate my needs. Even a master grocery stacker would need a minimum of two carts, especially when you factor in the broken wheels that are always pulling you in the opposite direction of where you’re trying to go.

      I’ve tried to be more proactive, but let’s face it… there’s nothing simple about a grocery run. You can easily blow a half hour compiling “the list” before you’ve even set foot out of the house. Even after I’ve made out “the list” AND gone to the trouble of arranging it IN ORDER, to match the store layout… I, invariably, find myself at the end, missing 2 to 3 random items that we probably won’t need for another 3 months. While this may sound like a minor inconvenience, let me assure you… it is not.

     I now have so many groceries that I can barely push them anywhere, or stop them, for that matter. Then there’s the added pressure of knowing that I have roughly five minutes to locate these items before 30 dollars-worth of ice cream and pop cycles start to melt. A wise person might just write those items off and head to the check-out. Not me! I’m in the zone. They’re on “the list”. Walking out of the store without them would be a crushing defeat, so this is when I begin frantically zig-zagging the aisles, in search of a box of light bulbs and a bottle of ketchup that USED to be on aisle 2, but has mysteriously been moved to another part of the store.

     In fact, can I just get something off my chest? It’s a TIP, if you will, to the Grocers of America: STOP MOVING CRAP AROUND! Why do you torment us with your incessant rearranging? I mean, let’s think about this rationally. Is the ketchup REALLY going to sell better near the freezer section than it did over by the bread and produce? I mean, I know there are some items in the store that no one is going to buy without a little arm twisting. In those isolated situations, I can understand that management might have to “trick” consumers into buying those items with an end cap or some other kind of creative merchandizing, but I’m going to go out on limb and say that CONDIMENTS ARE NOT AMONG THEM! They’re staples. If I need ketchup, I need ketchup… and I don’t want to have to work for it! Fair enough?

            Probably the only thing I DO like about the grocery is the magazine aisle. In my heart, I know that it’s wrong (if not illegal) to stand in the store for 20 minutes reading an issue of Cosmo cover to cover without paying for it, BUT… I do it anyway. It’s a sickness! I’m a literature thief. Cuff me!

What’s perhaps MOST disturbing about all this, is that I feel no guilt or remorse whatsoever about my behavior. One of my girlfriends says I have an “entitlement issue”. She says I hate the grocery so much that I feel like they owe me, in some small way, for picking them over, say… Whole Foods.

Her logic is sound unless you consider the fact that I could never shop at Whole Foods on a regular basis. I’m pretty sure their uber-wealthy/celebrity clientele would frown upon my idiosyncrasies. Plus, I almost never whip up anything in the kitchen that calls for crushed, organic coriander fresh from India. Pretty much any herb you can’t find nestled alongside the rest of the McCormick’s spices is something I’m probably never going to need.

Anyway, the secret to pulling off the whole magazine thing is to get in a really long check-out line. I’ve discovered that the employees are a lot more forgiving, and/or lenient, when it seems like a customer is being inconvenienced in some way. When you’re in a long line, the employees either overlook your indiscretion out of pity, or they’re too busy to even notice what’s going on.   

In the rare event that someone DOES muster up the courage to confront you or shoot you a look of shame… you can simply throw up your hands in a frustrated gesture, and say something to the effect of– “What? I’m standing in line! What do you expect me to do?” The more indignant you can sound with your delivery, the better. It works every time!

Let me rephrase that. It works ALMOST every time. Occasionally, a store manager or conscientious employee will recognize me from the news and break out in a sweat. It’s like they think I’m working on some undercover investigation on stores with poor customer service. The thought of being CAUGHT by our hidden camera and winding up in a 15 second promo that airs 75 times a day is SO terrifying that they’ll do the unthinkable, and open up another lane!

Fortunately, this ain’t my first rodeo. I never move. Instead, I’ll usually pretend to be selfless, like I have ALL the time in the world, and let the other overwhelmed customers divert to the open lane. I may not get to finish the magazine, but this maneuver usually buys me enough time to at least finish an article. I’m pretty sure it drives the cashiers insane. I can always see them glance nervously at their co-workers with a look that says, “I don’t know what to do! The TV lady won’t budge!” I use the term “TV lady” because 99% of the time no one has a clue who I am or where I work. My face is just vaguely familiar enough to know that I’m on the news SOMEWHERE.

While I’m offering up advice, I might as well just pass this along too. Do NOT under any circumstances, spend an excessive amount of time reading magazines IN the magazine aisle. While that may be fine to do at Barnes and Noble or Books-A-Million, it is completely inappropriate to do it at the grocery. People don’t go to the grocery to browse. They go there to buy and leave, as quickly as possible.

In fact, whenever I see a “lingerer”, I have to resist the insatiable urge to wheel by them and whisper “They’re watching you!” under my breath. I mean, let’s just be honest, anyone who spends more than 15 minutes in a grocery aisle, is immediately going to be flagged by a security as a potential shoplifter, or at the very least… someone with severe food allergies– neither of which are favorable.

I could go on and on, but we’re out of everything. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you at the grocery!

“The Truth Serum of the Car Ride”

October 2, 2013 - One Response

Being a parent for more than 15-years has given me a different perspective on just about everything I ever believed, or thought I believed, about raising a child.  All the things I said I’d never do or be “when I had kids”… I’ve already done or said too many times to count.  It’s like the mystery began unraveling the day my daughter exited the womb, and somewhere along the way, all those things I once thought were absurd have become crystal clear.

For example, my deceased grandmother (God rest her precious soul) used to go berserk whenever I blasted AM radio in her 1975 Chevy Nova.  You have to remember, this was WAY before cell phones, ipods, or even an antique Walkman player.  Like clockwork, she would put up with my nonsense for about ten minutes, before shouting, “Turn that thing down!  I can’t see!”  Naturally, me and my girlfriends would laugh hysterically, and begin whispering to each other about the early on-set of dementia she was surely suffering from.  Everybody knows loud music doesn’t impact a person’s vision!  Now… I get it.

Speaking of the car and parenting, one of the things that fascinates me is how much information my daughter shares from the confines of my passenger seat, specifically on the drive to and from school.  Don’t ask me why, but nearly everything I know about my daughter’s friends, fears, dreams, favorite books, her likes and dislikes… were all gleaned while driving down the interstate.  I’ve often said that, if she kills someone on the playground one day, she’ll tell me where the body is buried- on the drive home.

Sometimes I think it’s because she’s out of data for the month on her cell phone.  Other times I wonder if maybe she sees it like some kind of hostage situation, where she’s being interrogated by force.  Now that I think about it, I’ve dropped some pretty big bombshells on her in the car over the years myself.  The time I inadvertently blurted out the fact that there was no Santa Clause?  Check!  Tooth Fairy… yep.  Easter Bunny… you know the answer.  Somehow those kinds of things come out easier when you can do it without making eye contact.  Regardless, these are the moments I deeply cherish and miss, now that she drives herself everywhere.

Trust me… it wasn’t always this way.  The first year she was born, car rides were unbearable!  When she was too young to ride in the back face-forward, she was either asleep, or screaming incessantly from the time I strapped her in until the time we reached at our destination.  As long as someone was back there with her, she was ok, but God help me if I had to fly solo.

One morning, she actually cried so hard that she began projectile vomiting into the back window of the car.  As if that weren’t disgusting enough, she then started CHOKING on it!  In a flash, I put on my “supermom” cape, swerved into the turn lane, and saved the day.  People were whizzing by me on both sides of Dickerson Road while I stand there pounding my 3 month-old infant on the back.  “Don’t mind us!”

I couldn’t wait for her to get big enough to talk!  I had these visions of sipping my Starbucks, while looking at her in the rearview mirror and conversing about the events of our day.  Sadly, that’s not exactly the way things went down.  When she finally DID learn to talk, that’s ALL she did.  I couldn’t get a word in edgewise!  As a neophyte, no one bothered to tell me that the “listening” comes much later!  Sometimes it was so obnoxious I couldn’t even think.

When my daughter was younger, I took a break from news to be the Spokesperson for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.  EVERY SINGLE TIME we had a major crime or statewide crisis that required my attention, I would be driving down the road unable to hear over her incessant chatter from the back seat.  No matter how much I begged and pleaded with her to be quiet for just five minutes while mommy takes an IMPORTANT call, she couldn’t do it.

We’d be in the middle of activating a statewide AMBER Alert, and I couldn’t even get an accurate description of the missing kid because mine wouldn’t shut up!  This is no joke.  One night, I was doing a phone interview with Nancy Grace on the drive home.  I had to pull the car over, get out, and lock the doors to prevent the viewers of CNN from hearing whatever Dalton had to say that night.  It was maddening!

I finally got over it all one day, when we were driving to school in a blinding snow storm.  Don’t even ask me why school wasn’t cancelled, but it wasn’t.  Traffic was so bad on the main roads that I decided to take a “long cut” through the country, where it wasn’t so congested.  Turns out, there’s a REASON that road was empty.  It was a solid sheet of ice.

The few other cars that dared to go back there were creeping along at about two miles an hour.  Finally, we reached this line of cars just sitting still.  As we inched towards the front of the line, I finally realized what was going on.  There was a hairpin turn on a 45 degree slope that drivers were trying to navigate their way down one by one.  About 1 out of every 3 wound up making it down without flying off into a ditch.  It was sheer lunacy to even attempt it, but there was no other choice.  There was no way to turn around, and we were in the middle of nowhere.

Basically, drivers would just wait their turn, and when you reached the front of the line… it was your responsibility to wait and see if the car in front of you wrecked or made it to the bottom.  Despite being on the verge of what felt like a disaster, my daughter was just chatting away in the back seat as if nothing in the world was going on.  I humored her until it was my turn at bat, and then I remember screaming, “Dalton!  I need you to say absolutely nothing.  In fact, if you need to say something… PRAY.”  She paused for about two seconds, probably in shock because I had just lost it.  Then she said with the sweetest little voice ever, “Which one, mama?  The eating prayer or the sleeping prayer?”  That’s the moment I finally realize that all that nothing we talk about every day… means a lot.

Skeptics R Us

June 20, 2012 - 9 Responses

When did the world become so jaded?  As a newscaster, I should probably feel partially responsible.  Not a week goes by when we aren’t talking about some new scam, but last week I was stupefied by just how skeptical we’ve become as a society.

Purity dairy was trying to help raise money for Rocketown.  (For those of you who have been living under a rock, this is a downtown ministry that caters to teens and young adults.)  Anyway, Purity has a fundraiser they offer non-profits where they GIVE the charity about fifteen 1-gallon drums of Moose Tracks ice cream.  Purity will then donate one dollar to the charity for every school they give away over a three hour time span.  I repeat… Purity is GIVING the ice cream away, AND paying the charity a dollar for every scoop they give away.

When Rocketown became the beneficiary of this good fortune, they asked a couple of us here at the station to come down and be “celebrity scoopers”.  I was quite flattered by this, being that I’m only a “D” level celebrity at best, sort of like the gals on the car commercials.  I guess all the real celebrities who live here with busy with CMA.  At any rate, I’m standing next to Scott Hamilton (yes… the Gold medalist) scooping out ice cream like the bionic woman, when suddenly I realized… no one’s biting.  No pun intended!  Scott’s standing there with ice cream running down his arm.  People were literally walking by the tent, REFUSING, the free ice cream!  In my opinion, this should be a crime punishable by fine, but I digress.

You would have thought we were trying to lure them into some seedy time share presentation in exchange for a scoop.  These people looked at us like we were a bunch of carneys trying to steal their wallets.  No matter how many times we said, “It’s free… take it,” they simply couldn’t process the fact that  we were GIVING them something… FOR ZERO DOLLARS.

At one point, Scott “the gold medalist” Hamilton had to physically walk out into the street and start begging tourists to take a scoop.  This guy could be busting out a triple toe loop on any ice skating rink in the country, but instead, he’s standing out on lower Broad in 90 degree heat, with moose tracks dripping from his elbow.  Talk about taking one for the team!  Eventually, people started recognizing him and asking for a photo ops… but even then, they refused a scoop!

Finally, I decided… time was money, and we were losing the battle.  I went out to the street corner to work my magic, only let’s just say that I wasn’t nearly as courteous as Scott.  My pitch went something like this, “Do you want some free ice cream?  Ok great!  Thanks for nothing.  You just cost a kid a dollar.  I hope you’re happy with yourself!”  This got their attention!

Unfortunately, it also got the attention of the big wigs at Purity who were less than thrilled about my strong-arm tactics.  I was quickly ushered back to the ice cream scooping chain gang… far out of sight (or earshot) of any potential clients.

Anyway, the whole ugly episode just made me wonder when and how we became so jaded.  When did we lose all faith in our fellow-man.  Not EVERYTHING that seems to good to be true is.  The next time someone tries to give you a free ice cream cone, just shut up and take it!

If you are what you eat… I’m a Funyun

June 6, 2012 - 7 Responses

While many of you are probably spending your day thinking about how to stop hunger in Africa or promote world peace, I’m sitting at my cubicle trying to figure out what it is about the Funyun that’s so ridiculously addictive.  If you don’t know what a Funyun is, you can stop reading now.  We have nothing in common!

Every day for the past week (ok, month) I’ve found myself drawn to the break room, where I proceed to mindlessly exchange a dollar for a bag of funyuns, knowing full-well that they likely have the nutritional content of a ziplock bag.  Why… why do I do it?????

It’s not like I’m misinformed or confused.  We do stories every single day about how obese the country has become.  The feds routinely refer to Tennessee as one of the fattest states in the nation.  I can’t get through a newscast without reading something about healthier living, yet here I sit… scarfing down a bag of onion flavored styrofoam, and washing it down with a diet coke.  What is my problem?

Last week, we did a story about how the way to eat healthier is to shop around the perimeter of the grocery.  Apparently, that’s where all the healthy food lives.  All of the chips, cookies, and other msg laden items are sandwiched between the aisles.  I actually tried this on my trip to the grocery last week.  Unfortunately, all of it is still neatly stacked in my fridge, untouched.

Speaking of which… I need to vent here for a second.  Did you guys know that there are some supermarkets that have no cashiers working at night?  After a certain hour, you have no choice, but to check yourself out.  Maybe this would be practical if I were popping in for a pack of Wrigley’s spearmint on the fly.  Unfortunately, I spent the better part of an hour, looking up PLU codes for all of this healthy food I had located on the outside perimeter, which I’ll probably never eat.

Thank you!  That felt good, but my point is, why do we continue doing those things we do not wish to do?  This Funyun thing is becoming compulsive, along with my desire to go through the McDonald’s drive-thru every day, between shows, for a soft serve ice cream cone.  I realized yesterday, this had become a full-blown obsession for me, when the lady at the window said, “Hey girl!  Where you been?  I ain’t seen you in a minute!”  By minute… she means, since yesterday.  Am I being tracked?  Do people, besides me, know that I have a problem?  It looks like I’m going to have to start going to Bobbie’s Dairy dip, every other day, to mix things up.

When I dropped my daughter off at summer camp last week, a fresh-faced college student proudly told us they provide a vegan diet for children who don’t eat meat.  Instinctively I said, “Oh we’re on an all junk-food diet our house.  I hope you can accommodate that!”  The 22 year-old counselor was not amused.  He looked at me like I had just kicked a Golden Retriever and laughed about it.  After all, what kind of barbaric mother feeds their child JUNK FOOD?!

The other thing I can’t get enough of are those Arctic Blasters from Kroger.  It’s a good thing these are only a buck fifty a box, or I’d be bankrupt.  My body refuses to shut down, at the end of a day, without one.  Forget the Ambien or Lunesta!  Just grab a box of Arctic Blasters, and call it a day.  It’s a lot cheaper, and you don’t need a prescription.  Plus, they only have 100 calories per blaster.  I accidentally stumbled across that little factoid one day while throwing the box away.  I was so relieved.  They’re practically health food!

Why is it that I can’t develop an unhealthy obsession with something like house work or weeding or building houses in Uganda?  Like Paul said in the Bible, it’s always the things I do not wish to do… that manage to capture my attention.

I should be writing a blog about how to get rid of the ants that are taking over my kitchen, but I’m starting to wonder if annihilating them with a can of Raid is the right thing to do.  We obviously have a lot in common!  What other creature on the planet, outside maybe the raccoon, is as obsessed with a good snack as the ant?  Are we really that different… me and the ants?  Apparently not.  I just saved myself a trip to the grocery, which we all know is a good thing!

Birds of a Feather

April 17, 2012 - 5 Responses

It’s always interesting to me to see who people surround themselves with.  You can tell a lot about a person by who they hang out with.  The law of attraction knows no boundaries.  Whoever you are… you attract.  For me, it’s neurotics.

Karl Jung defines this as, “those people who are successfully adjusted by normal societal standards, but who nevertheless, have issues with the meaning of life.”  To me… that seems a little harsh.  I like to think of it as more of “a tendency to fixate on things that have no real significance or bearing on life.”

We’re obsessive-compulsive, but not in the way that makes our homes look immaculate or requires medication.  Instead, we go over the deep-end quickly, over just about everything.  Such was the case, a couple of weeks ago, when my best friend texted me on a Sunday night.

Friend:     “Clear the deck tomorrow night.  We’re taking a field trip.”
Me:           “Ooohh!  I love field trips.  Where are we going?”
Friend:     “Lewisburg”
Me:           (Not what I had envisioned.)  “What’s in Lewisburg?”
Friend:     “Whiter teeth!”
Me:           (Silence)
Friend:     “I sold a BMW to a dentist today, and he offered to  whiten our teeth!”
Me:           “Interesting… what kind of dentist is in the office at 9:30 at
night, whitening people’s teeth?  Is he even licensed?
Friend:     “Don’t be ridiculous.  We’re going to his house.  You’ll love him!”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I still have a set of whitening trays from the year 2000, that I haven’t seen, or even cared to look for, in at least five years.  When your daily consumption of coffee and Diet Coke reaches the gallon mark, it’s pretty much a moot point anyway.

My teeth are yellow… so be it!  I’ve got bigger fish to fry, like these sagging eye lids.  I’d Rollerblade to a barn in Kentucky at midnight if someone could help me out in that arena.  They don’t even necessarily have to have a degree, but my teeth… not that worried about them.

Nevertheless, his enthusiasm was infectious, and I ended up agreeing to go.  It’s not like I had anything better to do on a Monday night.  Plus, if I’m honest, the idea of meeting a dentist who’s even WILLING to whiten our teeth in his kitchen was intriguing enough to justify the trip.  I’m such a hypochondriac… most of the doctors and dentists I know have started screening my calls.

Monday night, as promised, we pulled up to a home in the middle of nowhere, that was fit for an episode of MTV cribs.  The next thing I knew… I was sitting on an expensive bar stool, holding a Papillon in my lap with a wad of that rubbery gel gagging me.

While waiting for the gel to “cure”, the dentist and his lovely wife proceeded to tell us how their son got married in the back yard, last summer, on a reality t.v. show.  Instantly, I knew we were going to be great friends.  This is precisely the kind of “off- kilter” nuance about someone’s life that I can relate to.  Normal people don’t agree to such things.  They’re obviously one of “US”.

On the way out the door, the good dentist offered us a weekend in his lake house on Tim’s Ford, and promised to teach me how to get up on a ski chair, something that… until now, I had assumed was an urban legend.  Apparently, these contraptions do exist, and this summer… I’ll likely be mastering the art of the “air” chair.

Fast forward five days, and this is when things got really interesting.  My friend popped by after work.  We hadn’t really spoken much of the whole whitening episode in days, but when he smiled… I gasped!  His teeth were borderline translucent.

Me:             “What happened to you?!”

Friend:       “What do you mean… what happened?  Do they look good,or what?

I couldn’t help but wonder whether he had just gone with straight Clorox.  Outside the extreme photo-shopping apps, I had never seen this kind of whiteness.  The transformation was bizarre, and not in a good way.

Friend:        “I went for the triple play baby!”

Me:               “I’m afraid to ask.”

Friend:        “Well, I used the ten minute whitening gel and didn’t  notice a difference, so
then I followed up with the daytime gel, and slept in  the night-time gel.
Pretty cool huh?”

Me:              “Pretty… scary!  Have you examined them closely?   Is there any enamel left?”

After much skepticism on my part, he finally admitted that, in addition to the “triple play”, he had upped the ante by purchasing some device at the tanning bed that holds your mouth open for an even fuller glow!  The last time we talked about it, he was considering 6-thousand dollars worth of porcelain veneers.  See how quickly things can spiral out of control.  I’m just hoping this week he sells a BMW to a plastic surgeon.

The Gift of Giving

November 18, 2011 - One Response

     A couple of weeks ago, my bible study group decided to “adopt” a family to cook Thanksgiving Dinner for… a pretty interesting concept, given the fact that only two of us know how to boil an egg.  It’s amazing how something so seemingly simple can spiral out of control.  Once you decide to take on a project like this, there’s a litany of questions to be answered.  Who do we give it to?  What do we make?  When do we deliver it… or do we even need to?  Maybe we should just invite them over?  If we invite them over, should we do it ON Thanksgiving or the day before.  Oh… and who’s going to make this stuff? 

     Before we knew it, we had a good old-fashioned conundrum on our hands.  One wanted to take it to a hospital and give it to people with sick loved ones.  Another wanted to give it to a woman who just moved into a Habitat home.  A third person thought we should find someone who was homeless.  At one point, we actually debated whether one of the families we were considering was “misfortunate” enough since they recently bought a flat screen.  Who knew doing something nice could be so wrought with questions. 

     Eventually, we decided to enlist the help of Aimee Fortney, “Not the Perfect Cook” (since we’re clearly not).  She gave us six idiot-proof recipes.  Instead of cooking the meal, we’re all going on a field trip to Kroger on Sunday night to buy the ingredients.  Hopefully we won’t get into a brawl in the aisles over whether to buy name brand or generic. 

     Once we’ve secured the loot, we’re going back to my house to package up each dish separately with the ingredients and the recipe tucked neatly inside.  I thought I’d share those with you in case you’re feeling altruistic, or you’re just an idiot in the kitchen and need some help figuring out what to take to your sister in-law’s.  Happy Thanksgiving! 


10 – 12 pound turkey
1 stick of butter, softened
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sazón completa (I don’t have the slightest idea what this is… so don’t ask)
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
dash of cayenne
pinch of salt 
pinch of pepper
freshly squeezed lime juice
1 lime, cut in half
1½ to 2 cups white wine

Remove neck and giblets from turkey.  Set turkey in roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels.  In a small bowl, stir butter to soften completely and add all seasonings and lime juice.  Stir together to make a paste.  Lift the skin from the turkey, and rub underneath the skin with the butter paste, as well as on top of the turkey.  Sprinkle a little bit of salt and pepper on top of the turkey.  Stuff limes inside turkey.  Pour white wine in the bottom of the roasting pan.  Place in a preheated 325 oven, and baste every 30 minutes.  After about two and a half hours, when turkey is golden brown in color, cover with aluminum foil.  (if it is not golden brown, do not cover with foil yet, wait until the color is there.)  Roast for a total of about 3 ½ hours.  Let turkey rest before carving, to keep it moist.


1 stick of butter, melted
2 cups diced celery
1 cup diced onion
4 cups crumbled cornbread (cornbread that has been prepared prior; either homemade or from a mix)
1 ½ Tablespoons sage
1 teaspoon salt
½ to 1 teaspoon celery salt (use amount to your taste)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (again, use amount to your taste)
dash of cayenne pepper
1 ½ cups to 2 cups chicken stock
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish and press all ingredients into bottom of dish.  Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes.

Mashed sweet potatoes

3 large sweet potatoes
 2 tablespoons of butter
spoonful of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
a couple of splashes milk drizzle of honey

Pierce the potatoes with a fork, and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven, peel, then add to a mixing bowl, and mix all ingredients together until it’s creamy. 

Aimee’s Corn casserole

2 cans cream style corn
1 small box ( 8 ½ ounce size) corn muffin mix
1 small container ( 8 ounce ) sour cream
 2 eggs, beaten
3/4 stick butter, melted shredded cheese

Beat all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Top with shredded cheese, and continue cooking until the cheese melts.


2 cups fresh cranberries; (use the whole bag, actually)
2 packages of red jello; raspberry, strawberry or cherry
2 cups boiling water
2 cups sugar
make jello with the sugar, following package directions
2 oranges, cut into pieces or 1 can of drained mandarin oranges
2 apples cubed
small can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup of pecans 

Pulse cranberries in the food processor.  Dissolve jello in hot water, then add sugar.  Mix all ingredients together and let it congeal in the refrigerator.

Broccoli cheese Casserole

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup onions, chopped
3 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli
8 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 dash paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together condensed soup, mayonnaise, egg and onions.   Place frozen broccoli into a very large mixing bowl. (I like to use my large stainless steel bowl to mix this recipe thoroughly.) Break up the frozen broccoli. Using a rubber spatula, scrape soup-mayonnaise mixture on top of broccoli, and mix well. Sprinkle on cheese, and mix well. Spread mixture into prepared baking dish, and smooth top of casserole. Season with salt, pepper and paprika.   Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.