This category is probably my favorite. I am an animal lover, with a few exception (which will be discussed in the “fears” category of this tag). Below are my ten favorites!
- Labrador Retrievers. It might be that I’m bias because my puppy is a black lab, but I love everything about them. Their size, eyes, big feet and tails. I love that they are playful, that they enjoy water and that they’re easily trained. My Zeeky has really changed my life. I’m less anxious because he’s a part of our family. At some point, we will have a female chocolate lab, but I’m patiently waiting for one who needs to be rescued.
- Penguins. I just imagine them with canes and little top hats, waddling around on ice with their little babies and spouses. I HATE birds, but I love these little guys. On my bucket list – meet a penguin.
- Platypuses. By the way, I checked – the plural “platypi” is not actually correct. These cute little things are basically teddy bear ducks. I think they’re one of the world’s strangest, but most adorable creatures.
- Giraffes. I love baby ones, especially. Lexi and I got to feed one a graham cracker when she was a baby. They’re like spotted brontosaurus horses. So sweet.
- Munchkin kittens. Funny enough, the deformity in these cats is genetic, and it originated in the town where I currently live, rural and stupid as it is. They look like normal kittens from the belly up, but they’re called munchkin kittens because their legs are super short. These things go for a ton of money around here, but I would love to have one someday.
- Corgis. Pointy little ears and noses and tiny little legs make for one cute canine. This is another pricey pet. But someday. Maybe someday.
- Elephants. I can’t imagine what God was thinking when he made these giant animals, but man, oh man, they are just the sweetest things. I love their ears and trunks. And they are generally super smart and playful, without knowing how big they are. I think elephants make really good moms, too. (By the way, I am not an animal expert. I’m going strictly on YouTube videos and imagination, so please don’t ruin my dreams.)
- Piglets. These are common pets down here in the South. I am not sure how I feel about having one of my own, because I have a lot of questions. But these things are just too darn cute. I think the noises they make are especially entertaining.
- Goats. I have wanted a baby goat for a long time. Unfortunately, there is no yard where we are moving so that dream will also have to be put on hold. However, I love how they jump and cry and fall over all the time. The viral Facebook videos just make my day.
- Great Danes. I love our Zeeky boy, but I can only imagine what his children would look like if we paired him with a great dane. HUGE dogs. I think little dogs are cute, but Zeek has just stolen my heart, so I’ve become partial to 100-pound lap dogs over the last year. Great Danes are among my favorite big dogs, aside from my lovable lab.
Meg / cC
Steering away from edible categories, since I haven’t been able to eat due to stress, I thought today I’d talk about books:
- Look for Me by Moonlight by Mary Downing-Hahn. It’s a vampire story, before Twilight was a thing. I read this book in the 4th grade and I loved it. Teenaged girl goes to live with her father at an inn, and she falls in love with the only guest there – a VAMPIRE named Vincent. It’s a good one.
- The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. This is a memoir about a girl’s survival skills as she grew up with an alcoholic father and a mother with a mental illness, who both put their children at risk physically, financially and emotionally. It’s a very inspiring story that will really make you grateful for what you have.
- Native Son by Richard Wright. I read this one in high school and loved it. African American man experiences racism and discrimination by being accused of murdering a woman that he actually did not kill. I won’t spoil it, but the ending is really good.
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. A mother is forced to wear a red “A” on her dress to let bystanders know that she got pregnant by a man who was not her husband. Obviously, “A” stands for “adultress.” The interesting plot twist is that the father of her child is the priest, and while her secret is on display for the world to judge, the woman keeps the secret of her paramour, for his sake. I can certainly relate to this woman’s story, and I’ll probably post a blog about that later.
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff. Apparently, a mouse would cause a lot of trouble if you were to give him a cookie. This is a kid’s book but I just think it’s hilarious. I used to have it and I’m not sure what happened to it, but I’d like to get it again so I can read it to my little angels, especially Jameson, who SHOULD be spending a lot of his summer in the books to improve his reading level (but we’ll see how that turns out).
- The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I LOVE the original book of this series. It’s about four orphaned children who survive in an abandoned train car. These kids have their lives better together than a lot of adults I know. This is another book Jameson needs to read.
- The Fifty Shades series by El James. I know it is basically smut. But I actually do like it. I’ve read them all. And yes, they’re better than the movies. Rich, abusive white man falls in love with a young, brunette English Lit grad. They learn a lot from each other and grow closer as a couple, despite their differences in background and maturity.
- The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright. I read this one in grade school, too, and it scared the CRAP out of me. Dolls have freaked me out ever since. A young girl spends the summer with her eccentric aunt and discovers a dollhouse while there. The dollhouse comes to LIFE at night and reenacts the murders of her grandparents.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read this one in the 9th grade. It’s another novel about racial discrimination, but it also includes an element of class division. I didn’t enjoy the movie at all, but the book is really great. It should be a staple in all high school classrooms.
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. This is a book that’s easily read. But it contains so many analogies and metaphors. This book has a meaning that is definitely open to interpretation, and that’s the main reason I love it.
Meg / cC
Finishing up the edible section of this tag…
- Sweet tea. It’s a Southern thing. The sweeter the better.
- Dr. Pepper. I drink this at meal times and while watching t.v. It’s my “go to” if I’m at a drive-through.
- Mountain Dew. This is a new addiction for me. It gives me energy and helps me get through my work day.
- Smirnoff Green Apple. This does not give me the slightest buzz, but I think it tastes like candy.
- Vodka Cranberry. My go-to liquor / mixed drink. I don’t know why, though. Vodka doesn’t give me a buzz either. It just makes me sleepy.
- Grape slushes. I get these from Sonic sometimes. Last night, I had one at the ball park. They’re tart and not too sweet and they turn my tongue purple. I mean, what more could a girl ask for?
- Lemonade. The sourer, the happier I am.
- Apple juice. I love apple juice. I don’t know why but I haven’t had any in a while. I like mine unsweetened. Great Value brand is probably my favorite.
- Chocolate milkshakes. Does this count as a drink? Oh well, I’m counting it. No whipped cream, though, please. Just a couple of cherries on top.
- Strawberry smoothies. I think I’m going to buy a blender at some point so I can make my own for breakfasts. Since summer is coming, it’s time for some lifestyle changes.
Meg / cC
Taking a break from telly and talk about some of my other top ten favorite things. Today is supposed to cover food.
- Salad. My husband will tell you that I judge a restaurant based on the quality of their ranch dressing. I love salad. My favorite combinations: Romaine lettuce and croutons and black pepper with Caesar dressing; Romaine lettuce, boiled egg, tomato, cucumber, carrot and croutons with ranch dressing; Romaine lettuce, fried chicken breast, tomato and croutons with honey mustard dressing. I probably eat salad four or five times a week.
- Grilled ribeye. Jackie knows how to do it up right. Marinated in Italian dressing and then put on a HOT charcoal grill. If I’m feeling froggy I’ll sauté some mushrooms and onion to go with it. And all of you steak snobs can lay off of my love of A-1 Steak Sauce.
- Pasta. Spaghetti, alfredo, stuffed shells, lasagna – I love it ALL. And the cheesier, the better. My kids’ favorite homemade dinner is spaghetti, so we have that probably once a week.
- Cheeseburgers. Jack could eat a burger a day, and I probably eat a burger a couple of times a week. I like them simple – either with grilled mushroom and onion, Swiss cheese and mayo, or your stereotypical lettuce, tomato and mayo topped burger. In North Carolina, cheeseburgers are served “all the way” with chili, cole slaw, mustard and onion and that is also DELICIOUS (don’t knock it till you try it).
- Pizza. Who doesn’t love pizza? But my tastes are a little different. Papa John’s is my favorite pizza chain and the best toppings to get there are pepperoni and banana pepper. I learned last weekend that I’m also a fan of making pizza at home, and we might make that a tradition. I also like black olives and Roma tomato. And by the way, yes, I do think pineapple is good on pizza and enjoy it frequently.
- Japanese hibachi. I’ve never had anything that I didn’t like at a Japanese hibachi restaurant, but I have never tried making it at home. The restaurant we go to here in my hometown is called Tokyo. I am thinking about making that my Mother’s Day meal of choice, because the whole family can go, and we all love it.
- Fresh fruit. I don’t eat this as often as I should, but really, does anyone? I like every fruit except for grapefruit. Green grapes, satsumas, Fuji apples and strawberries are among my favorites in the category. There’s also NOTHING like a sweet, ripe watermelon on a hot summer day. Jackie has been teaching all of us how to tell a fruit’s level of ripeness based on its smell and since he’s done that, I’ve managed to pick out a few good cantaloupes. Maybe a farmer’s market trip is also in the cards for the weekend.
- Cereal. I have never really looked at “serving sizes” on food labels, but I am definitely a rebel when it comes to cereal. I have my own assigned cereal bowl that no one eats from but me. I like variety in the pantry because cereal comes in all kinds of great flavors. But I love Frosted Shredded Mini Wheat, Rice Krispies (with a little sugar – okay, a lot of sugar), Honey Smacks and Lucky Charms.
- Fried chicken. And here’s the thing – I’m from Kentucky but I don’t like KFC. I’ll take Popeye’s, thanks. Mild dark meat. And I want cole slaw, mashed potatoes with gravy and sweet tea, please. That’s a meal from Heaven right there.
- Mexican. We actually ate Mexican for mother’s day. Enchiladas, nachos, chips and salsa – and a margarita if I’ve had a bad day. The local Mexican place here is so good. My kids eat their queso like it’s going out of style, and I like their salsa because it has a lot of cilantro.
There has been quite a bit of drama within my immediately family lately, so I haven’t been eating very much. It’s not a bad thing. I could stand to lose a few pounds. But now that I’ve proofread this post, I’m kind of hungry.
Meg / cC
Day One of this tag covered movies, and I was as explanatory as I could be, without being boring (at least I hope that post wasn’t boring). This set is supposed to cover t.v. shows, but I elaborated to include Netflix series, because I really don’t watch a lot of actual t.v.
Again, these are in no particular order:
- The Walking Dead. I think all Americans know about this show and lots of people are obsessed with it. For some of my readers overseas, however, this show might not be well-known. It centers around Rick Grimes, a former sheriff deputy, whose world falls apart when he realizes, after a brief hospital stay, that the Apocalypse has begun. No government, no currency, and a completely different set of rules that center around literal survival. The show just wrapped its 7th season and the 8th will begin sometime in October. I was late boarding the TWD train, but I watched the first 5 seasons on Netflix in about 4 days, and I have become obsessed. Jack and I literally clear our schedules on Sunday evenings so that we don’t miss a single episode. Favorite character – Daryl, of course. And Negan is the current “bad guy” all fans love to hate. I started counting down to October the week the 7th season wrapped. And once the 8th season begins, look at my blog for reviews and spoilers.
- The Big Bang Theory. I have loved this show since the pilot episode. I have seasons 1 through 8 on DVD and my daughter frequently plays them as she’s falling asleep at night. Four geeky university scientists join forces with a gorgeous aspiring actress. They teach her how to act intelligently (in theory) and she teaches them how to be normal (in theory). It’s this generation’s “Friends,” mixed with a bit of Will and Grace vulgarity, and it is the perfect combination of humor and not-far-fetched reality. I absolutely love this show.
- Friends. Speaking of which, the entire Friends series is on Netflix and I binge watch this show quite frequently. Three men and three women take on New York as a team. Dating, break ups, reconciliation, jobs, marriage, babies, and of course, COFFEE. I feel comfortable letting my kids watch it with me, so this show is on quite a bit in our house. Plus, I feel like Chandler Bing and I would seriously be best buddies.
- The Vampire Diaries. Yes, I know this show is off the air on t.v., but Netflix picked up the series a while back and I have watched the entire thing several times. You do have to watch this show from the very beginning because the story lines builds and it can be very confusing if you miss even one episode (this is why Netflix is the best thing ever created – besides the toilet…possibly). Two vampire brothers fall in love with the same human girl and compete for her affection, even when it means playing to each other’s strengths in order to keep her safe. If I’m honest, I was not a fan of the series finale; however, I fell in love with each of the original characters and I’ve been a fan since high school. While I may have grown up in many ways, my taste in television has obviously remained the same.
- 13 Reasons Why. You may have already read my review of the first season of this show. A Netflix original, I could not take my eyes away from the t.v., and I got nothing done the weekend that I watched it. Hannah Baker, a high school junior, commits suicide, and chooses not to leave a note for her family, but instead, a series of “vintage” cassette tapes for her classmates, each tape containing one reason why she decided to end her life. It is intentionally full of suspense. And my husband JUST told me the good news today – it’s been renewed for a second season!
- Dawson’s Creek. Again, this show has been off the air for quite a while. Netflix offered it for a little while a few years ago, but as users know, they rotate out contracts and shows pretty frequently. Much like The Vampire Diaries, two teenagers compete for the same girl’s affection, minus blood and witchcraft and full moons. I think the best part about this show, for me, is the cast. I love Joshua Jackson and Katie Holmes and I really wish they would do something else together.
- Teen Mom OG. Yes, I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding this show, because it has made teen pregnancy a money-maker in America. The show with these particular girls aired when I was in my early 20s, and I never missed a Tuesday. Farrah, Macy, Caitlyn and Amber and their little babies stole my heart from the beginning. I don’t necessarily watch it now because I take it seriously, even though I can relate to what it’s like being a young mom. However, I think the baby mama drama (no pun intended) is absolutely hilarious. Farrah is ridiculous with her white trash mouth and attitude, while Caitlyn is admirable for realizing she couldn’t give her first child what she needed. Amber is an idiot for dating that pedophilic old man, but I think my favorite is Macy, just because she has managed to make a bad situation fit into her lifestyle. And not only has she survived it, but she’s embraced it. This show is definitely a guilty pleasure for me.
- Criminal Minds. I’m ALL about serial killer documentaries and interviews with criminals, and this show capitalizes on the idea that those types of people are interesting. They have made a t.v. hit out of the morbid curiosity of regular people like me, and I love it. Granted, I have not watched the show since Morgan left, swearing I was boycotting, but I do watch the reruns on Netflix quite often. The good news is that Morgan WILL BE BACK FOR THIS SEASON’S FINALE and I have to admit, I giggled having learned this news.
- Frontier House. Okay, so this is a really OLD PBS series that I fell in love with in high school. My mom and stepdad loved it so much that they bought the VHS tapes, and I spent most of the summer before my junior year living in 1883. Three families travel back in time to learn what it was like to live in the late 19th century. No food, no electricity, no running water. For five months, these families lived off the land, milking cows and doing laundry on washboards. But the funny thing about this show is that these families didn’t get along at all and the drama that blew up on camera for the world to see was just incredible. I have actually followed the cast of this show over the years and it’s been interesting to see who ended up where. The 12-episode reality show can be seen on YouTube, plus I have the DVD set, so I watch this whole series about once a week, and it has yet to get old.
- Cops. Only in ‘Murica would this show be popular. We get to watch plain white trash at its best. For those of you who don’t live in this great country, each episode opens with the ever-so-catchy “Bad Boys” theme song, and cameramen follow patrol officers around while they make mundane traffic stops. More often than not, however, these routine traffic stops turn violent or just plain crazy. But the violence is not really anything but funny, because these traffic violators are STUPID when it comes to dealing with the police. The lies these criminals come up with are hilarious, and I LOVE it when the Taser comes out – it just CRACKS ME UP. If you want a taste of redneck culture, watch a couple of episodes of Cops, and I promise you’ll be hooked.
I think after writing these two blog posts, it’s safe to say that I need a life.
I was emailed a link to a tag asking for your “top 10 favorites” in 10 different categories. The problem is that I have so many favorites that require explanation. So I thought I would do a chain of blog posts that will allow enough room for me to ramble, while still answering the actual questions.
The first category just happens to be MOVIES. These are in no particular order, not because I was too lazy to put them in order, but because the order changes from time to time.
- Pretty Woman. A young businessman named Edward Lewis falls madly in love with a street-strong prostitute, Vivian Ward. Richard Gere and Julia Roberts are fantastic in this movie! I like the banter between the two characters. I can quote this entire movie. It was my mom’s favorite when I was little, and once I was old enough to watch it with her, I fell in love with it right behind her. The best line – “These are broken. Mine are BROKEN,” Vivian says, trying to look through her opera glasses.
- Bridesmaids. Melissa McCarthy is among my favorite actresses, and she plays the best role in the movie. Her name is Megan, coincidentally. I watched this movie in theaters with my younger sister (back in the day, when we actually got along) and I swear, I laughed until my cheeks were sore. It also probably didn’t help matters that I sneaked in a mixed drink to enjoy while watching it. The part where all of the girls get sick in the bridal boutique is my favorite. Also, the bloopers made me laugh until I cried. This is a must-see for any woman in her 30s, in my opinion. Just do yourselves a favor – watch it alone, or with another woman. A man would never understand the humor.
- The Fast and the Furious series. Yes, this might be cheating, because there are 8 movies altogether; however, in my defense, these movies build on each other to create one awesome story line. And before you ask, yes, I have seen the newest Fate of the Furious in theaters. I grew up watching these movies. The first one was released in 2001, when I was in the 8th grade. And I have followed the storyline up to last Friday, when my husband and I saw the newest movie. And besides that…Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. Fast, hot cars. And guns used by good guys who always win!? Hello!? For those of you sticklers who are going to make me choose an absolute favorite of the series, I suppose Fast Five (obviously the 5th movie) is the one I like the best.
- The Fifty Shades series (well, the first two). Call me a perv if you want, but I actually like Fifty Shades. Or maybe I just like Jamie Dornan? Hm. That’s a question I’ll continue to ponder. In the meantime, I’ll continue to watch!
- The Twilight Saga. I know the Twilight fad expired about 10 years ago, but I still love these movies. As a young adult, I was Team Edward all the way, and I loved the last movie and the way it ended. The older I’ve gotten, however, I have realized that Jacob was really the right choice for Bella, and if you don’t believe me, look through all of the kisses each of the different movies. Obviously, Jacob was a much better kisser. And he’s warm. As the wife of a human heater, I will say it pays to have someone tall, dark and handsome on a cold night.
- Beauty and the Beast, animated. I am almost 30, and I love this movie. I can’t get enough of the music, the romance and the Cogsworth and Lumiere banter. This movie was one of the first movies that Lexi and I watched together, when she was a teeny tiny baby. And honestly, I think I still like it more than she does.
- Beauty and the Beast, 2017. I watched this the weekend after its premiere, in a theater with my husband. The seats were awful (it was crowded and we were late) and I left with ringing ears and sore neck. But this has to be the best movie I have ever seen in theaters. I loved it so much. I definitely did NOT cry. Nope. The cast is amazing, the music fantastic and the animatronics complete perfection. Disney made the plot line and the music just like the animated film, and that is why I love it so much. I can’t wait for it to come out on DVD.
- Stepbrothers. Okay, so I am a Will Ferrell fan anyway, but when his jokes pair with John C. Reilly’s, you’re left with comedic brilliance that leaves me in tears! I wasn’t a HUGE fan of Talladega Nights, but I swear, this movie is hilarious, both in concept and punch lines. I’ll even admit to being a bad mother and letting my kids watch it because the jokes (the ones they understand) make them laugh, too. And that “Boats and Hoes” song is really catchy, in a creepy, stuck-in-my-head-all-day kind of way. In fact, we just watched this movie during dinner last night, and I’ve been jamming to that tune all day. Oh well. Helps the Mondays go by more quickly.
- Stepmom. On the opposite end of my taste in movies, this “it could happen to me” drama stars Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. It’s about a woman who, in the middle of living her life for and about her two kids, is diagnosed with a terminal illness. She, along with her ex-husband’s much younger, more self-centered fiancée, must learn to play to each other’s strengths in order to tag team being moms. It’s very sad, but very cute and very REAL. The bratty pre-teen in this movie reminds me a lot of eleven year old me, good, bad or ugly. My son likes this movie and we watch it together from time to time.
- Anywhere But Here. Mother Susan Sarandon and daughter Natalie Portman leave small, Buttholetown, Wisconsin and end up growing up together in Beverly Hills. Sarandon will crack you up with some of her punch lines and she really shows off some of her best acting abilities, creating a new genre of mother – like Soccer Mom meets alcoholic meets promiscuity. I used to watch this movie on VHS in high school, rewinding some of my favorite parts – like the diner scene when Sarandon’s character, Adele, talks to her daughter about someone who has a glass eye. Cracks me up.
I think I’m going to like this tag. Mother’s Day weekend is coming up and now I have a list of stuff to watch with the kids!
Just a little warning, from someone who got a BIG culture shock 8 years ago.
- Arranging their schedules around college football. If LSU is playing, not a damn thing is happening that day, except for tailgating, beer drinking and screaming. And if LSU is playing Alabama, be prepared for literal fist fights in the parking lots of bars and pubs.
- Calling ALL soft drinks “Coke.” In every restaurant, the waiter asks, “What would you like to drink?” The customer says, “Coke,” and the waiter responds with, “What kind?” I swear, this happens. And no, by the way, Pepsi is NOT okay.
- Ending any word…ANY WORD…in “eaux.” I don’t know why this is a thing. It’s not “Go.” It’s “Geaux.” Dogs are not named “Bo.” They’re named “Beaux.” And guys don’t hang out with their “Bros.” They hang out with their “Breauxs.” It’s a Cajun thing you wouldn’t understand, but you should at least kneaux about it (see what I did there?).
- The Fleur de Lis. It’s hanging on everyone’s walls, it’s tattooed on people’s arms and ankles, it’s decaled on people’s windshields. It’s somewhere in the logos of at least a third of companies in the state. You’ll know a Louisianan’s business card when you see it.
- Putting Tony’s on EVERYTHING. Tony’s Creole Seasoning is a Cajun spice that apparently belongs on every food cooked in Louisiana. Macaroni and cheese. Pizza. Pasta. Salad. Mashed potatoes. Deviled eggs. I have seen it all.
- Not owning a coat. Because…why bother? There are two seasons in Louisiana – football and crawfish. And during neither of them will the weather ever be cold.
- Camouflage EVERYWHERE. Comforters, tuxedos (yes, really), baby onesies, wallpaper, phone cases. If Louisianans need it, it comes in camo – guaranteed. And if it doesn’t come it camo, Louisianans don’t need it.
- The entire Pinterest Board dedicated to homemade mosquito repellant. I’ve lived here for 8 years, off and on, and trust me, it is necessary.
- Agricultural expos, trade days and gun shows. There is one somewhere in this state, on any given day.
- Sonic Drive-in. The ultimate drink stop. Other states think Sonic is “okay” but Louisianans know Sonic is the shit.
- Mardi Gras. Yes, the official parade is in New Orleans. But in my home town alone, there are three parades that weekend as well – a kids’ parade, a pet parade and the crazy parade where the people on the floats throw out beads, boas, and plastic cups. It’s the one Saturday in Louisiana where they excuse the “public intoxication” rule and allow people to drink in the streets.
- King Cake. It’s a Louisianan rite of passage. And they’re really serious about that baby in the cake thing.
- Loving shows like Swamp People and Duck Dynasty. I don’t know if it’s a loyalty thing or if they actually enjoy these shows, but regardless, they’re pretty big deals.
- Eating types of meat that people cannot purchase in stores. Deer. Rabbit. Squirrel. Hog. Dove. Quail. Alligator (yep). Duck. All edible, and even preferred here.
- Farming as a permanent career choice. It’s true. The farmers I know are either incredibly wealthy or are in some incredible debt.
- Poorly maintained roads and street signs. State taxes are the costliest in the nation, yet there are more flat tires and accidents than almost anywhere else due to potholes, lack of road work, or road signs that have been run over by tractors (even on the interstate).
- Being too friendly. Louisianans are famous for that “two finger wave” to people they don’t know when passing them on the road. Local grocery stores still have “buggy boys” who load your groceries into your car for you. Louisianans will hold a door for you if you’re not even out of your car yet! Everyone is raised to say “please” and “thank you,” “yes, Ma’am,” and “No, Sir.” And anybody can give you directions – just stop in the middle of the damn road and ask the first person on the sidewalk.
- Nicknames like “Bubba” and “Cooter.” It’s true, Folks. My dog is named something more normal than some of the people around here.
- Never fixing your hair. Because why bother? The humidity – uh muh GAWD.
- Calling out “northerners” on their shit. I’m originally from North Carolina. And to a Louisianan, I’m a YANKEE.
Meg / cC