Happy Had It Right

“Why don’t you come home?” “And where would that be, Grandmother?” “Kentucky, of course.” 

Grandmother was constantly worried about me being on the road. She loved hearing about my adventures, all I was experiencing, and the postcard I sent from every town, but she wanted me still. Somewhere safe. She had started to push a little harder each time we spoke. It makes me wonder if somehow she knew what was coming. That’s why she threw out the big punches the last time we spoke. Exasperated from the same conversation I didn’t want to have, I promised we’d talk about it after Tuscaloosa. I’d be there Monday at the latest. I said something funny and changed the topic. Told her I loved her and promised to call from Texas. That was Wednesday. She passed the next morning. 

That’s how I ended up here. 

Specifically, at the moment, Village Inn in Burgin, Kentucky where they have wifi if they aren’t working on the power lines. Also where you can get dinner with 2 sides, a salad, and bread for under $7. It is a long story. 
I told one of my closer friends she was silent on the line for a few minutes before responding with “your book is going to be so good.” Let’s hope so because otherwise I’m concerned I’ll have survived all this crazy for nothing. 

In true small town fashion, I had no lack of offers of where to stay until I can be in my house in Danville (part of the long story I can’t talk about yet). The option that was immediately in front of me was a lake house out here in Burgin. Do I remember how to get there? No ma’am, I haven’t been out there since I was 16. Thinking better of it, I caught myself adding that unless I wasn’t supposed to be out there and in that case I’d never been before. As teenagers in a dry county, we were all crafty and had parties creep up in all types of places. I’m sure I had lake houses confused….

There’s no cell signal, no wifi. There’s only one bar in “town” and it isn’t steady. Just peace and quiet. Seems like that’s what my body needed after this week. I slept for 2 days. Granted, yesterday it snowed and the temp hit 24° so leaving the house didn’t hold much appeal anyways. It just felt safe and warm. Not that life on the road is dangerous. Private islands in the Keys isn’t so rough. 

Having my car back is exciting, having everything I own back in my possession is even more so. My hairdryer! My expensive face wash! More than a week’s worth of clothes! Lord, how life has changed. On top of all that, I’ll be unpacking it all. 

You see, that was what my grandmother asked. Come back to Kentucky to take care of the house until it sells. There’s a lot more to it that I can’t talk about yet, but looks like I’m here for awhile. 

Yesterday, when I used the landline to check in one of my calls was to The Barbeque Joint. I told Scott when the snow melts, I’ll head into how to pick up a signal. He joked “so in March?” More like April. 

After Cuba, I had intended to spend the rest of the winter months in Costa Rica. I’d picked out a place a couple blocks off the beach with spider monkeys that hung out on the porch. Danville, Kentucky is the exact opposite of that. 

Most of all, more than the cold that I despise, I’m scared. Thanksgiving, I returned to Charleston. Bad business kept me there longer than I was ready to stay. My heart hurt still and I itched to be back on the road. Alabama had always been thought of as home, except this last trip it didn’t anymore. That leaves Kentucky. What if being here proves this isn’t home either? Where does that leave me? Dreams of Costa Rica? Plans for Africa? Hopes of baby kangaroos? Come Monday, we’ll find out. Fellow nomads, you’re welcome to stop through. Visitors welcome. 

Here’s to having a mailing address. 

You’ll have to excuse typos and errors. If I had known there was wifi, I’d have grabbed my laptop. Instead, I was winging waving my phone around in the air. 

Margaret Ann Webb Morris

On Thursday, January 19, 2017, the sheer amount of joy, love, and happiness Margaret Ann Webb Morris carried with her proved to be too much for her heart.

Margaret longed for the mountains of Kermit, West Virginia, where she was born on March 13th, 1935. She never stopped looking for the country road to take her home to where she belonged.

Margaret had a long, successful career in living a full life. She enjoyed art and loved to paint. Her gardens were astounding and she could make anything grow. She was well traveled, but cherished her home. Margaret loved to dance. She was someone everyone wanted on their guestlist though no event could ever top her Christmas party where she managed to arrange for the sky to open up and snow.

Fiercely loyal, she valued friendship. She never missed a monthly meeting with her Birthday Club. Always savvy, Margaret was proud to say she had mastered texting.

Margaret was loved by everyone, but none loved her more than her one true love and husband of 37 years, Beverly Martin Morris, who preceded her in death. Bev vowed to love Margaret for forever. A man of his word, Bev’s love for Margaret was so strong that even after his passing, a day never went by that Margaret wasn’t comforted by his love.

Margaret is also predeceased by her brothers James Richard Webb and Charles Eugene Webb. As well as her best friends, Barbara Castle Pugh and Danny William Pugh of Paintsville, Kentucky. Her family finds comfort in knowing she has joined Bev, Barb, and Danny again for all the best stories they know are about the four of them together.

Margaret is survived by her daughters Lynn Morris of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Jayne Morris of Knoxville, Tennessee; her grandchildren Margaret Ann Morris, her namesake; MaryJane Morris Floyd who gave her a great granddaughter, Claire Grace Floyd; William Martin LeGrone who dubbed her by her commonly known nickname “Bubba;” and Kirk Morris LeGrone the youngest of her grandchildren which insured he would always get the last of her coveted mashed potatoes.

Most importantly, Margaret is survived in spirit by the memories of all that knew her. The Morris family invites you to join them to share your fondest memories of Margaret with them Monday, January 23rd, at Heritage Funeral Home for visitation from 12:30 to 1:30pm and services Tuscaloosa Memorial at 2:00pm.

For The Hell of It Friday: You Can Cuss & Still Have A Grateful Heart

Last week, my winging it went wrong. After car troubles, I told my host no big deal! I’ll hop on the train, come to you! There was a train leaving in the morning and it was already well into the evening. Getting a room just to check back out in a couple of hours seemed silly. I could handle the train station overnight.

Yes, the train station in Tucson is very nice and it is in a nice part of town. Unfortunately, it is only open until 1:30pm on Friday and Saturday. Luckily, A Shot In The Dark was around the corner and open 24 hours. I grabbed my bags and headed that way.

I worked away through the evening. There were lots of people there, I was obviously not the only one there for the long haul. After both of us witnessing a woman being dissed by a wizard and her wingwoman being thrilled about it, I struck up a conversation with the gentleman in the booth next to me.

Turns out, he was lost in life. Just a few years younger than me, that week he found himself homeless and unemployed. I have said it before, the only difference between me and those that find themselves in that situation is all of y’all. It hurts me. Unsure of how else to help, I reached out to my support group. img_7022

The words of support flooded in. From all denominations, from all faiths, just from all over all kinds. The words kept coming long after I had parted from him. The response blew me away. I spent the rest of the wee hours writing down all the things sent to me while he slept.

I am sharing this with all of you for many reasons. One of them is my constant, that I would never be able to do any of this without the support of all of you. The other is to remind you that you are never alone. You need someone, you just let me know. Friend, enemy, stranger, new friend; just let me know.

The primary reason to share this with all of y’all is that so many of the words held so much power. If you ever need to be inspired to be kind to someone else, think of the words that came pouring in. If you ever needed to be reminded you are loved, take a read.

So here’s what happened next (I bawled the whole night during, the whole day after and get teary about it now so you’re just going to have to deal with copy and paste from my fb page):

Well, y’all. I think we changed a life today. When Sean woke up I told him that on paper, we were the same. I don’t have a home. I was there too in an all night dinner with two bags containing all my belongings (I’m fine, stupid train station was closed until morning but I am fine!). My circumstances are different, but really the only difference between us was that I have an amazing support group. Thinking I misspoke he repeated back to me, “you have an amazing support group and I don’t?” Yes. He got a little teary with the confirmation. I then continued telling him that if I didn’t have all of y’all and even more than those of you on this thread, I’d be lost too. Y’all support me no matter what I do. You’re so amazing that I knew if I asked you to care for Sean as you do me, you would ten folds. So while he slept I asked y’all to do just that. I gave him the pages and pages of prayers, verses, and notes. I told him he didn’t need to read them now, but none of what’s coming is going to be easy. I can’t imagine how scary it would be for him, if he chooses, to go to some church with a letter from some woman he met and ask for help. Whether he does or not, he has our notes to remind him he’s not alone. He gave me my jacket back bc he said it was the right thing to do, which broke my heart. I told him it was only 9am on the east coast where dozens of people are waking up praying for him. Just wait until the West coast woke up! I bet he’d be feeling our support randomly throughout the day. We prayed and he hugged me goodbye. As I left he called out “God bless you.”

I don’t know if I’ll ever hear from Sean again, but I hope some church secretary gets my number off his letter and calls saying he made his way there. Even if he doesn’t, I think he’ll call on the memory of us often wherever his journey takes him. Thank you.

Also, everyone in this charming historic train station is now avoiding me like the plague. When I randomly burst up to get tissues, I left my bags unattended and now I’m crying all over again so this should be a fun wait. At least there’s some woman in the corner talking to herself.

It hasn’t been a week yet, but I haven’t heard anything about Sean. With me posting these words I’m praying for him all over again and I ask you to send out to whoever/whatever you believe in for him too.

Now, for all the kindness that was sent into the world. Please take the words to comfort yourself or someone you know. Buckle down, there’s a lot of them.

True life teaches us lessons everything that happens always has a reason why it happen but he will overcome his struggles I been in his shoes before.

You have the strength to over come this even when it doesn’t feel like it. Open your mind and your heart to the goodness of the world: to the smile of a young child, to the fresh flowers in bloom, to the dog you got to pet. The little good things will turn into big good things. And know you have an army behind you for strength and support.

God will strengthen you – But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles;they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak. – Isaiah 40:31
But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (GNTD)

Dear friend: You are loved more than you know. No matter what has happened, what you’ve seen, what you’ve heard, God is with you every step. God wants better things for you, talk to Him, just like you’d talk to a friend. You are His child and you are loved.

Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.  -Sometimes, when we are most lost, we wish for our mother. Mary can serve as a mother to all. I often look to her and ask for her to look after my brother who can’t accept the love of our earthly mother.

May light always surround you. May hope kindle and rebound you.

Father God right now in the name of Jesus continue to protect and watch over your servant Muffy continue to open doors and guide her and lead her and director in the way that you would have her go,continue to direct her walk so she will continue to speak life into lives she meet, continue to do a good work to her right now in the name of Jesus. FATHER all the works of the enemy we bind right now in the name of Jesus to create declaring the good that you have already prayed into that work for her and she may glorify your name to her walk and father we thank you for the financial blessing that you were pouring out upon her out of the bosom of other men /women Father we thank you so much for the fact that even though it looked funny when she started it was all working for her good through you and we thank you again for covering her as she makes this journey and we thank you again for blessing her as she never gives up and we thank you again for growing her she makes this journey but we know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called to his purpose and she loves the Lord and she has been called to your purpose and we thank you again give you honor and glory to you lifting up your name calling your son holy thanking you for the Holy Ghost in Jesus name amen

Dear Lord, I pray this man’s emotional, physical, and spiritual protection. Keep evil far from him, and help him to trust You as his refuge and strength. I pray You will guard his minds from harmful instruction, and give him discernment to recognize truth. I pray You will make him strong and courageous in the presence of danger, recognizing that You have overcome and will set right all injustice and wrong one day. Help him to find rest in Your shadow, as he lives in the spiritual shelter You provide. Let this man know that the only safe place is in Jesus, and that his home on earth is only temporary.

All we need to remember and call out is the name of Jesus. He knows our heart. It is that simple. We complicate things. God Bless You on this journey. God Loves You Always.
Jesus. Jesus save me. Jesus help me.

Father God…
Today was one of those days- You know the ones. When life just doesn’t make sense. When the world seems so unfair…Because it is unfair. We need You Lord. I need you. I need you to wrap your arms around me and help me understand that it’s a good thing I don’t understand everything. You are God. And I am not. You spoke the world into existence. You shaped humans from dust. And only you can create beauty from ashes. I’m asking you to carry me, Comfort me, keep me, and give me peace during this time in my life… Thank you Father God for being my protector…AMEN

GOD I thank you for this day and for waking me up yet again. I’m thankful Lord to know that you are both a prayer hearing and prayer answering GOD. There is no one like You in Heaven and on Earth. So for that reason I come to you on behalf of this young man. GOD I only know small details, but You know his entire story. You know the misfortunes that have lead him to this place. But I ask Lord that you will be merciful unto him. Help to guide this man to new opportunities. Give him courage to continue on despite struggles. Put him in the paths of others who can genuinely be a help to him. Open his heart to understand not only your power but also your love. Make yourself so real to him GOD, that if he is not yet a believer, he will become one and know that it is You Who are his help. And Father (this parts for you) guide my friend Margaret Ann as she continues on this journey. I’m not fully sure where this road will take her but let her realize you yet care and love her. And You can be to her what no one else is this world can be: her everything. Mother, Father, Friend, Provider, Counselor and Guide. There is nothing to hard for Thee. We love you Lord and thank you. Keep both she and this young man safe. It’s in Your mighty and precious Name I pray. Amen

“For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). This scripture serves as a reminder to you that can do anything with God. Heavenly Father I ask that you continue to watch over and protect this man and give him the courage to handle whatever comes His way! Thank you for bringing Muffy into his life today and for being an example of you to Him. I pray that you would provide opportunities for Him to be able to move forward! Jesus’ name, Amen!

God of light, who leads people’s by unlikely stars, who comes to humans in an unlikely baby, who offers us unlikely hope through Jesus, we praise you for our brother. In his time of wandering, send him companions for the journey. Meet his needs for food, clothing and shelter. Most of all, light in him the spark of your love so he knows he never travels alone but you go with him every step of the way. In Christ’s name, amen.

GOD I thank you for this day and for waking me up yet again. I’m thankful Lord to know that you are both a prayer hearing and prayer answering GOD. There is no one like You in Heaven and on Earth. So for that reason I come to you on behalf of this young man. GOD I only know small details, but You know his entire story. You know the misfortunes that have lead him to this place. But I ask Lord that you will be merciful unto him. Help to guide this man to new opportunities. Give him courage to continue on despite struggles. Put him in the paths of others who can genuinely be a help to him. Open his heart to understand not only your power but also your love. Make yourself so real to him GOD, that if he is not yet a believer, he will become one and know that it is You Who are his help. And Father (this parts for you) guide my friend Margaret Ann as she continues on this journey. I’m not fully sure where this road will take her but let her realize you yet care and love her. And You can be to her what no one else is this world can be: her everything. Mother, Father, Friend, Provider, Counselor and Guide. There is nothing to hard for Thee. We love you Lord and thank you. Keep both she and this young man safe. It’s in Your mighty and precious Name I pray. Amen

Our most merciful, wonderful Father:

Thank you for all the blessings you have given us. I lift up to you now ________. Please mend his broken heart and spirit in the way that only you can. Please turn around his circumstances and help him back on his feet. More than anything Lord, please wrap him in the comfort of your unfailing and undying love. This man is loved, is wanted, is precious. He is your child Father, please let him find peace in that. In all circumstances we give glory to you, Lord.

And to finish it off, all of these specific Bible verses:

Isaiah 40:29-31

Isaiah 41:13

Psalm 121:7-8

Psalm 23

Psalm 34:18

Psalm 91

I hope if you needed them, these words found you.

ORLANDO PT 1: All Moused Up for the White Flag of Surrender

Note: For some reason, I refused to get the Orlando wrap ups until I had done all parts of it. That resulted in it taking forever which makes the very first one I did kind of comical. Pfff, scheduling and organized.

As all things in this adventure, this post is a learning lesson. Since Orlando and the composition of this post, I’ve gotten better. By better I mean more than just the writing. I am better at outlining what I want to say, better at the physical part of sitting down to write, better at finding my voice. Overall, better.

It was a toss up on rewriting the whole post or letting it go as it stands. Ultimately, I decided to use the time it would take to rewrite it or leave it and use the time for something moving forward.***

 

As much as I hate to admit it, the excitement of the trip was better than the trip itself. Maybe I was just overspent. They say that kids have Disney Crash after a trip, I had Disney Build Up.

There is nothing better than taking a child to Disney World.  I am so thankful that Camp Lola’s crew got to join me. On the same note, I feel like most parents would agree that there’s nothing worse than taking children to Disney.  It’s almost too much then they crash after a few scattered meltdowns throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have done it differently if I could.

Instead of sleeping in my car, I stayed with Camp Lola at Disney’s All-Star Movie Resort. Lola booked her room just 2 days before and got them for less than $100 a night.  Much to my crazy surprise, I had media passes for 2 one day all park passes compliments of Disney. It kind of makes me feel bad about that post about Disney characters boinking guests.  Camp Lola had just relocated (maybe 2 weeks prior) to St. Mary’s, Georgia putting them just a couple of hours up the toll road.  Lola had her 31 Bonus ready to go, it all just fell into place.

This is going to be a shameless, unwarranted, nor requested plug.

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There was a LOT of packing and downsizing going on. 

There is nothing travel wise I love like the 31 mega huge utility tote that KLA got me for Christmas a couple of years ago. It has this one big canvas tote that spans my entire trunk with 3 separate zippered bags that fit into it. Best gift ever. When I packed for this adventure, I packed one of the totes per city/weather to go along with my overall bag.

 

Lola tells me they don’t make this bag anymore, unbelievable. You’ll be able to find the closest thing they offer now, the Deluxe Utility Tote. I’m not going to single anyone out, you all have a social media sales hustler come to mind, I will say that I have never seen Lola post once about selling 31 goodies (they make mermaid pillows!). She is the non-hustler hustler. That’s probably why she does so well with it.

Back on track!

imagesOur littlest camper LOVES Herbie. Not the Lilo kind, the originals Staying in the Herbie section was a must. Only at check in, we discovered we were not in The Love Bug section. We were instead in The Mighty Ducks.

Do kids still watch The Mighty Ducks? Or is Disney just too far in to remodel?  Granted, they have a hockey goal in their pool, it just wasn’t Herbie. Not a problem! A little fairy dust and we were moved. What a surprise! When we got to our room!

 

 

We weren’t just in the Herbie section! Our room  was smack dab right in the middle of it! Our room door opened right next to the two story Herbie himself! img_0025

 

No lie, img_4403it was like I was 6 years old when I got my Magic Band.  I WAS AT DISNEY! Even better! I was at Disney as a guest OF Disney! What is happening! I felt so legit.

Full disclosure, all of the royal “we” for check in was me being there during text. I arrived later after a warning that the white flag of surrender was hanging on the door.

 

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Legit, white flag of surrender was hanging on the door when I arrived.

Now that we’re all here! Oh. My. Goodness. Have I seen the gift shop yet?!?! Well, no Camp Lola Campers, I didn’t sneak over there before coming up to the room. I did per the head counselor’s request stop by Rite Aide for a bottle of wine though.

Dividing and conquering, I took the youngest camper to the arcade while the oldest went with the head counselor to the gift shop. Let me tell you, it was bananas. Did I have any tokens? Nope. Didn’t matter. 

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The gif is 1,000x times better. You can check it out HERE.  

Not even visiting the park yet and the campers were spent. All tucked in their beds, the grownups popped open the adult bug juice and gossiped. In a way, it was just like summer camp! I’m teasing. I never once drank at camp. Did accidentally miss curfew once, but always the angel in disguise! No other camp rules broken! Except maybe that year as a camper that we peirced my ears and…okay, so mostly as a counselor I never broke any rules. #AngelInDisguise #ThatsWhereTheGreatDayClapComesFrom

Today was the day!  The sun came up! It’s Disney time!

 You know I love a good theme. Had to dress the part. All moused up, I got first hand what all the mommies talk about in the mommy groups. I saw all the real life versions of the parenting memes.

 Y’all. Complete and utter chaos over shoes.

After all the shoes were on the correct feet, we were on our way….to wait for a bus.

It is a good thing Mickey is a mouse. Lord, the amount of cheese! I loved it! Our driver sang it all! He did all the dad jokes! It was…well, it was magical!

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First up, we rode the move around while sitting still ride. Then we rode it again. A then a few more times in a row for good measure. No prob. It gave me the chance to coordinate my map, app, and fast past all to my Magic Band. Really, this thing is genius.

The youngest camper needed to circle around a few more times. Divide and conquer, I took the older camper for whatever her heart desired. It desired the creepiest robots ever. EVER. Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. Funny how the future kind of panned out. All the advanced technology was a few decades behind minus the 3D goggles. The tree did seem to be missing a pair of rollerblades. They would have matched those sweaters and that hair!

img_4454Next on the agenda, It’s a Small World. Turns out, it isn’t as creepy as I remember. Our oldest camper was enchanted. See what I am saying! Magical! Kids change it all. Borrowed Kids, BORROWED.

You caught me. Even though this was not my first trip to Disney, I got a 1st time button. There was a great debate. Between the 1st time and the celebrating button, it seemed it would be easier expanding the truth than explaining I was celebrating finding myself. It had to be 1980 something the last time I was at Disney. The Carousel of Progress wasn’t even outdated yet!

 

We skipped the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique opting for the free experience of a little fairy dust from a Fairy Godmother.img_4456 

It amazes me that we had done so little yet it had been hours. Already it was time for lunch and a little meltdown prevention ice cream. I didn’t even skip over any of the rides or anything in the recount.

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The Mad Hatter’s Teacups were just as much fun as I remembered. Totes more fun than cliche. 

Off to Dumbo where we found Disney’s gift to parents. There is a playground for the kiddos while you wait in line! 

That is the one thing I think Disney could do better with. Fast Passes are great, buy your way to the front! And if someone in your party is differently-abled, they get unlimited Fast Passes. Thanks to my perfect planning/dumb luck we had virtually no wait anywhere. Max 15 minutes. However, 15 minutes for that someone could be a lifetime. Disney does so much for families, they go so far out of their way to make sure everyone experiences Disney to the fullest. I just wish they could set up Fast Passes for special circumstances that made it easier. Something we brought up was even sensory sensitive lines. Just a thought for the big mouse.

Disney was ready for Christmas during the visit. Personally, I just wanted a good old fashioned thrill of Disney. It’s possible I tried to angle all my pics to cut out Christmas. Ba-humbug, it was hot and we just did Halloween! I coped and cropped.

The only Christmas that really irked me was the Jungle Cruise. It was an all time favorite as a kid. Did you know those hippos aren’t real? For the holidays, it is the Jingle Cruise and all of the ride is decorated. Puns were abundant and made up for all of it. Seriously, I had to keep myself from grabbing her intercom to share some of my bad cow jokes from my Ben & Jerry’s tourguide days. Just hire me! I’d pun it up all day!

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Swiss Family Robinson gave all the views of the park, leaving me hoping that it inspired little minds to go home to read the book.

We wandered Main Street. We caught the parade. There must have been more rides, it all seemed a blur.

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Let me tell you, those Cast Members have their “Parade is Over, Time to Leave” routine down pat. It was like trying to break through a game of Red Rover to get past them going back towards the rides. I only had half of my group!

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In the tips,  I talk about the perks of an early closing day. The campers were fading. I can’t even imagine how it is possible to do the park open to close during regular hours without nuclear meltdowns or spending a mortgage payment on meltdown avoidance ice creams.

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Back at the resort, the campers headed to the pool with me while Lola sought out our dinner. Assuring myself that she’d come back, I ohhhh’d and no way’d all the water stunts before tapping out to Lola. Sub Counselor out! That is when I got to sneak off to hear all the dirty on Disney from a former Cast Member. 

In all the times I’ve ever been to Disney, I have never ridden Space Mountain. Trips to Disney were with my single parent. Too little to ride myself with a sibling too little to leave alone, it just never happened. I cannot even imagine how single parents do it. Camp Lola has a regular pair of Head Counselors, but only one of them was there at Disney. Having no real authority, I was mostly just an extra set of eyes and hands for opening things. There was one point where Lola heard me tell one of them no, we weren’t going to do XYZ. Why didn’t I want to she asked me. I was completely indifferent to whatever was asked of me to go see, I had just said no in order to show my dominance. Who knows if that is a thing with kiddos. But props to you single parents, mega props to you. 

And let me just tell you this, kids at Disney never sleep. I headed off to the food court (okay, mostly the bar) to be an adult and go over some notes. That’s where I met the lovely couple who come every year for the last 9 years with their grandchildren that gave me all kinds of insights from experience. KIDS WERE UP ALL NIGHT LONG. Maybe it was the excitement, maybe it was time zones, maybe it was a desperate attempt to let them wear themselves out. Who knows.

For me, the day was done. It was time to say goodbye…

M-I-C, see you real soon…K-E-Y…why? because we like you…M-O-U-S-E

 

 

 

Travel Tuesday: Hitting the Rails

I keep seeing the story pop up all over. There was that kid who took the train from California to New York for $213. What a deal! No, not really. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enchanted by the train! The views! The dining cars! There’s no sleep like on a train….just in one of the sleeping cars. 

Yes, you can take the train cross country for $213. You can even read the latest article I was tagged in to read about it from Esquire HERE.

What you can’t do for $213 is get on and off the train. Well, you can, you just have to buy different tickets for each portion of the trip then coordinate. It’s a hassle and trains aren’t like planes, they don’t run all the time. Like for instance, this weekend I’m hopping on the Sunset Limited. It only runs on Saturday, Monday, and Thursday. When I get off at a station, I’ll have to entertain myself until I head back to the station two days later. 

You can get a Rail Pass that allows you to get on and off at various stops. A 15 day Rail Pass that allows you 8 different rides (getting on and off again) is over $400. 

Remember that great sleep in sleeping cars? That’s not included. For $213 you get to go cross country in your seat for 3 days. It’s not the dream vacation of seeing the country they make it out to be. 

The point is if you’re wanting the experience then you’ll need to pay more and plan a little more. If you want to get across the country on the cheap, fly. 

We’re going to have to gloss over typos with this one for now, it’s a post from the phone and those always are struggle. Wifi in the desert just isn’t so much! 

Muffy Monday: Let Me Whisper Some Southern In Your Ear

We are just going to breakdown this learning curve right here with a breakdown of “Southern.”

By the grace of God, I was born and raised Southern with a powerhouse trifecta of an upbringing split among Alabama, Kentucky, and South Carolina. I don’t know how to answer “yes” or “no” without a “ma’am” or “sir” behind it.

I have my own hoopskirt stories that are a hit at DAR teas. I feel naked without my pearls. I pick a dress with flops over pants any day of the week. Asking me if I want a Coke covers all beverages, while asking me if I want a pop makes me concerned I’ve offended you and you might stat swinging. I’m proud to wear my letters just never while I have a drink in my hand.

I come from the land where football dynasties are made and “Roll Tide” covers hello, goodbye, hell yeah, or even an entire conversation.

Born a Kentuckian and a degree holding Wildcat, I will always be finding my way home. I will always bleed blue even when I’ve had too much bourbon.

All of this makes me Southern and not just geographically (which is the only way Florida really counts). Sweet tea sippin’, glowing not sweating in 105 degree heat & humidity, SEC rooting Southern.

Let’s clear some things up:

  • KFC is not like Starbucks. There isn’t one on every corner in Kentucky and we’re not all lining up to see what color bucket they’re doing for the holidays. Now if you replace KFC with basketball in that assumption, you’d be on point. The world stops in Kentucky on game days.
  • Depending on your side of the state line, when you say “Carolina” you either mean South Carolina or North Carolina. Those are the Carolinas, plural. They are not the same. It amazes me how many people are surprised I am not used to snow, don’t I get that all the time? No. North Carolina has mountains where it regularly gets cold. South Carolina not so much (except at the moment where our Southern winter has been hijacked). I lived in Charleston. I lived at the beach. Ocean not mountains. They are two completely different states.
  • There is Southern, there is country, and then there are people who are both. When it comes to country, I’ve only got a weekend in me. I’ve got a kill shot, I just don’t do sitting quietly, no matter how big a buck. Mudding sounds fun if there is a cabin nearby to clean up. My Saturdays are for tailgating not tailgates and I’ll take grits over gravy at brunch every time.

Don’t get me wrong, plain and simple, I’m not badass enough to be country.

I guess being Southern is just cream of the crop and that’s why all y’all are so fascinated. Or maybe it’s the lack of a Southern upbringing to blame for the manners. But y’all don’t see me out here in the desert asking people if they live in wigwams.

Class it up people! For the love of biscuits, embrace my manners! Be impressed with my historical knowledge! Just because I am polite does not mean I am naive. Just like me not calling you an asshole, doesn’t mean you aren’t one.

When encountering new people, use the good sense the good Lord gave you. I may love Him, but I say f*ck a lot and so help me, the next time I get asked to say something again so you can get a good laugh or if I eat possums or have a Confederate flag bikini, this belle is going to flip her shiz over more than tonight’s ballgame.

Now, if you excuse me, this Bama girl has a game to get ready for! Clemson, I hate it when we are up against each other. You won a place in my heart when you wooed this barely 18 year old girl tailgates, lake houses, beer, boats, and boys. You’re the only orange I like. And I sure do thank you for that shut out against Ohio! But, tonight, on live the SEC!

Roll Tide Roll y’all!

Sarah the Bitch with an H: Let Me Tell You a Story

*NOTE: super spotty service, drafts/publishing issues. Will find better service and double check everything**

Where I’m from rain is a good thing. Now, Sarah the Bitch with an H, your comment on For the Hell Friday:What the Hell Am I Doing came at just the right moment. We’ll get to that in a minute though.

For those of you just joining, this isn’t Sarah the Bitch with the H’s first appearance. She commented on the post that changed everything, Time to Live Up to the Name. I was sad. I was hurt. My whole world had been torn apart.

Sarah the Bitch with an H  commented I was mentally ill and needed help. Since then she has become a measurement for various things, usually in marking something I don’t care for much.

Who could she be? We were all aghast. Saras I know were quick to point out that their names don’t have an H. Sarah’s with an H needed me to know that it wasn’t them. Many, and I mean many, guessed a particular SWF I used to know. So many people guessed that particular person that I almost felt sorry for her. For that many people to assume you’re that terrible.

What’s important about this is that during my life upheaval, I wasn’t pushing the blog. Only people who knew me knew where to find it. That means, Sarah the Bitch with an H, is probably someone I know. Does it make this bitch insightful on all things Muffy or is she just Hector the Projector?

The first encounter, I could have been better. Still, not too bad off the cuff. Even made my typo witty! It was/should also be pointed out that the very next post was titled ”To Put It In Perspective, I Need Your Help” and it was absolutely published before her comment was made. I guess my troll just isn’t very dedicated. Don’t worry dear readers, I am dedicated to my troll! Let’s explore Sarah the Bitch with an H’s latest comment. Then! Then! I’ll delve into my point and how this is perfect timing!

1.  I am not running. I  hate running. Noah from Moore On Runners tried and tried. Nope. Not happening. Fun fact, I did run once! Exactly one time. I ran Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon IN A FLASH FLOOD. If you ever go to Cinci and you see all those bridges and hills, I ran across all of them! Double fun fact, if you only run one race your current time is always your own personal best!

Now if I were out here running, I think we can all agree that I am out here running towards something, not from it. What a closed minded perspective.

2. Working hard always gets you what you want. That’s a nice sentiment. Just ignore nepotism, that it’s all in who you know, all those people who bust their tail and still never get there. Of course, The Stones telling you that you don’t always get what you want, you get what you need.

I do work. I work really hard. There was a lot of hard work and sacrifice to get here. Even out here, I’m still working hard. Even harder. I have my “day job” and my own personal hustle. Travel blogger, freelance writer; these things take work. Did I mention I want to write a book one day?!

3. Disney World. Walt Disney World is in Florida. Walt Disney Land is in California. Thanks for the read, but if we are keeping count it wasn’t one of my first posts (they are called “posts” by the way or “blog posts.” The whole website is the blog. It would be exhausting and counterproductive to make a new blog every time I wrote). Depending on which Travel Tip Tuesday you’re referring to it was either post #66 or #64.

4. I own my car, just FYI. It is in storage, but I own that baby! I’ve actually got very little debt. That’s one of the sacrifices I mentioned. Along the way, I sacrificed things and spending to avoid debt. Sometimes it was hard work! (see #3)

5. No, you don’t know my family. I go through various blocking routines every other month so I’m not the person to get you in touch. But who the fuck do you think you are? “Willing to accept me?” Yeah, they have. They do. It is me that chooses not to be involved with them. I may talk about them, I restrain from sharing the screenshots of word nausea. This is my freethinking narrative, I get to talk all about what I want without having to prove my feelings. That’s the beauty of a personal blog!

6. It’s “yourself,” one word.

7. You don’t need a comma before “and.” That’s my opinion though. I’m assuming you were weren’t using it as a coordinating conjunction. It seems like you were stating two descriptions. Who knows though. I don’t know you, just taking a guess based on your writing and typos. Happens to the best of us, that’s why I have an editor for anything outside on the blog!

8. Words written don’t make it true. Nope. But it is my story and I can use whatever words I want!

9. Good luck to me? Is that, hope upon hope, this is the end of you? So long, farewell…

Let’s head for the point, shall we? I had said that this was perfect timing.

Not only did the alert of your comment come right as I finished my work for the day (yep, work! See #3), it also showed up after some self reflection. That’s not that big of a deal, solo travel comes with a lot of self reflection.

Do you know my most hated phrase? “It is what it is.” I hate it and I truly mean hate. We have freewill! Nothing is ever just what it is. There are always options, those options just may not be the ones you want to take.

Just recently, I had a situation that I really needed to get out of that I have put myself in. What no one ever seems to consider is that maybe your “situation” is a result of leaving another situation. Frankly, you are always going to be in some sort of situation or another. I digress.

My arrangements started to form a cage, a pretty cage; a cage nonetheless. Tracker apps, exercise mandates, vitamin regimes, unspoken curfews, and no access to the keys or codes to let me out of the gate. All for my well being? Sure, only it should be of my choosing not by that of a mother hen turned hawk.

As the bars of my cage began to form, my concerns formed right alongside them.

 This is where things went sideways.

Mother Hawk told me I was dishonest and deceitful. “Ask anyone who knows you. Everyone knows you bring drama. Everyone,” she says. Yes, it was that dramatic and traumatic, so much so that I remembered it verbatim until I could write it down. Now I have put myself in this situation and I was sure as hell going to get myself out.

Yes, Sarah the Bitch with an H, it is only my side of the story and not even all of it. Let’s just say I know I wasn’t the crazy in the situation because I was not the one peeing in a cup while hiding in the bathroom. For now, my ruling will have to stand.

Words were said, insults lobbed out. I go out of my way to be a better person; to live my life to avoid that type of adjectives. Long ago, someone called me horrible things such as those, hurling off insult after insult.

Insults are like gambling. You have to quit while you are ahead. Except the tormentor enjoys the rush too much and goes all in. They’ll go for a real zinger as their grand finale. Only the insult  is too big and you’ll see the cracks in the lie. Long ago, it was that if my own father didn’t love me how could anyone else. Not really a loss for me, but obvious flaws. In the sideways situation, it was that everyone who knows me, you could ask anyone…well, that loses it’s power when your sample size is only 3; all your children by birth or marriage.

Unfounded or not, insults still leave a mark. Every insult gets my attention as I worry over if I’ve been good enough. I tally my flaws, list each time I could have been a better friend, a better human. I like to think I’m quick to own my mistakes and genuine with my apologies. When you’re told you’re no good, you get real good at evaluating. I’ve had tons of therapy where I picked that up. For every death, divorce, move, transfer, or change my family could think of I got sent to the shrink. Sometimes short stints, sometimes long ones.

Every therapist I’ve ever seen has told me two things. First, I should be way more fucked up. God love Dr. Lamb for actually saying “fucked.” I am way more balanced than I should be (go me for adaptation). Second, their original concern was that I created drama my life. After many a sessions, they all tell me they don’t think it is me. Somehow it just finds me. True story.

These situations or times that have gone sideways seem to happen to me more than most. It is something I have given a great deal of thought about and it is me.

You see, I’ve been living by the same instructions I was told on my first day of school, “go make friends!” I just never stopped.  How many friends do you have? Maybe a hundred? Maybe two? I have thousands, adding more every day. Not a single one of them do I not think I could call upon right this moment for a chat. Don’t believe me? Look at this adventure. Look at the map with all the names.

My life is bigger than most, my adventure grander. It has always been this way. When it comes to the equation of life mine has more drama because the sample size is larger. But so is the happiness, the moments, the memories, the experiences, the people. I’ve opened myself up to all of these situations, good or bad, and I get myself out when need be.

It all becomes part of my story. My story. Fortunately, I’m a storyteller. All of it folds in. Sad, happy, good, bad, great, ridiculous, funny, outrageous – all of it. Every person. Every place. Every experience. All of it.

This is my story for me to tell. That’s what I am putting into the universe. Sarah, the Bitch with an H, stop and listen to my tales or go on along your way. As before, if you’re someone I know I’d like to not know you anymore. Don’t you worry, I’ve asked the universe to let me know.

 

On the topic of not knowing anymore: I have no delusions that Mother Hawk and her flock will see this, just as I have no delusions that our friendships would have survived. Families first, little birds. I’ve disrupted your nest, for that we should steer clear of each other. The lose of your 3 friendships saddens me, one of them more than the rest. One of your Mother Hawk touted you as echoing her sentiments. If that is only half of the story then at the very least you didn’t disuade them. I am neither dishonest nor deceitful, I won’t be called them nor will have people in my life who think me capable. I tell you this with a pure heart, I hope you are never shattered to your core, that there never comes a time where you need to take personal stock. If ever a time does come, remember that moment when you ask yourself if there was ever a time I could have been a better friend.

All 3 little birds, I forgive your silence or your words. From here now, let’s have only silence from your nest.

Now out of my pretty cage, I have no desire to return either in person or in words. Your feathers will conceal you as long as you wish. There is no more of your story I need to tell. After all, it is only fair I only tell my story and not yours.

Travel Tip Tuesday: Crossing the Border to Mexico

With Mexico just an hour away, I can’t help myself from itching to cross over. The call of tacos is too strong. Unfortunately for me, I can’t make the run for the border. My passport is being renewed in preparation for Cuba in March.

Even though I’m left only daydreaming about the trip, it doesn’t mean I can’t read up on what I need to know for when I can crossover.

The border may only be 67 miles away, it can take up to 2 hours to actually get through. Be prepared for how many rounds of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall you’ll need to sing in wait by checking border wait times.

Check your car insurance. Most policies only cover a certain mileage into another country. For Mexico, Sanborn’s Insurance is the popular choice.

Just like me, you’ll need your passport. Anything less and you better hope you know all the words to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s theme song.

I may just be winging it, but for those who are not take a look at the list the Before You Go from MexPro.

Have you crossed the border lately? What advice do you have? As always, be safe out there kiddos! And happy travels!

Muffy Monday: Mind Your Manners

I’ve written and rewritten today’s post 29 different times. I can’t. Today, we’ll have to just be true to who I am. Frankly, I can’t insure my mouth. If you have nothing nice to say, you should say nothing at all. Fire and brimstone will have to stay hidden on my personal accounts. 

Tomorrow will be Travel Tip Tuesday because, to be honest,  I’d really have to finagle to get in the “bless your hearts” I’m quashing today.