Sunday, December 2, 2012

Randomness and awkwardness.

Well. This is going to be a pretty random post. I just felt like chilling on the couch and chatting with you guys, so forgive me in advance for the waywardness that you will surely encounter in the next few paragraphs.

So first, this picture above. That's from the day after Thanksgiving. I'm pictured here with two of my favorite medicine nerds, Wendy A. and Shanta Z. (aka "The Profesora in Pittsburgh.") Shanta was in town with her family and Wendy had a few friends over with kids for an easy, breezy evening. Her invitation was careful--no pressure to come, you know?

But I did. And it felt so good to be in between those two. Because these two? They are good friends to me. They are. That evening was therapeutic in ways hard to explain. So I won't. I'll just say that I'm glad that I know them and that I allowed myself to let them care for me.

Because they do. 

Hey! They're the infectious disease ladies. Can you believe that syphilis didn't come up even once? (Cat scratch fever did, but not syphilis.) Oh yeah--and they were talking about some kind of website called "fluwatch." As in, watching the activity of the influenza virus. Which was deliciously medicine nerdy. (Almost as delicious as Wendy's homemade soup.) So that was fun.


What else? So the weekend has been pretty okay, I'd say. Oh! The weather has been spectacular. Unseasonably warm-ish, but not obnoxiously so. I'll take it.

We took our annual family/holiday photos on Saturday afternoon, and we were pretty glad the weather was kind. There's been a few years where we were absolutely freezing are bee-hinds off. Another year was super-overcast which kind of leaves you in a not so smiley mood. This year, the weather was perfect.


Oh. So saying that we were taking our annual family/holiday photos makes it sound like it was some kind of super swanky shoot. Well. Despite the fact that they seem to come out looking that way, nothing could be further from the truth. I'd like to describe the whole thing in the words of Lionel Ritchie and the Commodores: "Easy like Sunday morning."

For reals.

So, we have this friend named Angus W. who happens to be both a friend/fraternity brother of The BHE and ALSO a freelance photographer on the side. And, first, let me take NOTHING from Angus and his mad skills--he's amazing. In fact, several years ago, he took photos (on the side) at a mutual friends' wedding and his images were ridiculously better than the ones that the seven-trillion dollar hired wedding picture company managed to get.

Which reminds me. Our wedding photographer, who shall remain nameless, was pretty craptacular. Peep this -- the ONLY photo of us sealing the deal with a kiss as husband and awesome-wife.

Seriously? Seriously. How awkward is this?

Oh. And is it me, or is this--the ONLY family photo taken of my immediately family--worthy of "awkward family photos" or what?

What-the-what? I mean, what could possibly make that photographer think tucking my mother in the back like that was the"money shot?" This picture always makes me laugh out loud. Especially when I compare the size of my head (since I'm all up in the front) to Tounces' head (which is a thousand light-years away.)

The only thing worse than the first one is the "safety" one he took after. 

Wompity-womp-womp. Talk about an epic fail. EPIC, man.

So. Oh, my point. My point is that having a contemporary website with high prices does not mean you'll have good wedding photos. Matter of fact, my favorite shots are all ones taken by friends.

Which brings me back to Angus. Angus took all these awesome shots at our friends' wedding. He later started a company and we really liked his work. When I was pregnant with Isaiah, he took some portraits for us and then came to our home to snap some more after our little man came onto the scene. Later that year, he came over to take our first family Christmas photo.

What we like is that he has a very simple concept. He comes to our house and snaps a few pictures in front of our home. Or somewhere around the yard. Then he gets some candids in between which are usually our favorites. On Saturday, we all marveled at how he has watched our family grow and how he's captured it all year after year. Oh--and the best part? He knocks it all out in less than 45 minutes or so and doesn't charge you an arm and a leg.

Last year, we didn't do our holiday picture shoot because he'd come to Zachary's 5th birthday party to snap images for us. True to his form, he managed to get this really awesome shot of all of us.

And that was in between the kids playing in a jumpy castle and the BHE flipping hamburgers.

Yup.  Go ahead. You can say it. That man looks hot even whilst flipping a burger. And, man. Look at me up there with that dark hair. That was before I decided to get my Anderson Cooper on. (That's my term for being super young and swanky, yet going grey anyway.)

Mmm hmmmm.

Yeah, so Angus always manages to get a cool shot without trying. Here's one of my favorites from Saturday.

It's not the one we used for our card. But the boys were climbing that tree behind us--not for the photo--but for fun. He managed to get them in the shot--which is super funny to me. It totally says, behind our ridiculously chic outward appearance, we are really nothing but two forty-somethings with two wild boys who climb trees in their good clothes regardless of our admonishment otherwise.

It also says, "I'm not above publicly coveting fully-loaded minivans." (Yes, I still want one and intend to do so this spring.)

Ha. Hmmmm. What else?

Y'all! Do you have any hidden talents in your dreams but not in reality? Man. I do.

Like me? I speak fluent Spanish in my dreams. I can do back handsprings like it ain't nothin'. Oh! And in my dreams I can run ten miles without even batting a lash. As a matter of fact, in one of my dreams, I had a long run with my friend and marathoner-extraordinaire, Julie E.

Those who know me and also know Julie E. are laughing out loud at this statement. (Oh. That's just her running the BOSTON MARATHON in a photo used on an Adidas BILLBOARD.)

Wait. My point. Oh! So, my point is not about running. Although I have to say, that long run with Julie in my dream was exhausting. I woke up very tired and thirsty.

But that isn't my only dream-talent.

Yeah, so in my dreams, I'm a pretty good singer. But unlike my Spanish and my running, this warped reality occasionally crosses over into the realm of reality.

If and only if nobody else is at home.

Which brings me to what happened last week. So, as you all have gathered by now, music has really been a very helpful part of my grieving process. And since I like all sorts of music, that means everything from James Taylor to Donnie Hathaway, from Jill Scott to gospel greats, from jazz icons to country and western, and from old school hip hop to Bob Marley. Basically, it's whatever I'm feeling, you know? There aren't any rules.

So most of this music plays on my mental iPod. Which subsequently leads me either to my real iPod or YouTube. When the song gets stuck in my head, it finds its way into my mouth and out of my lips. And usually it's a solo that I sing.

That is, I sing it so-low that nobody can hear me. With two sing-it-loud-and-proud caveats:

  1. I am dreaming (while running an easy seven miles with Julie E. and speaking Spanish.)
  2. Not a single soul is home or anywhere close to being near coming back home. 

Yup. That's when it gets on a WHOLE NUVA LEVEL.

Mmmm hmmm.

So that brings me to Tuesday. Lawd, Tuesday. So Tuesday, I had this very old school gospel classic on my mental iPod. Which led to my real iPod. And ultimately my lips and then into the universe. And lucky for me, The BHE was gone and the kids were already at school.

Mee-mee-meeeeeee! Ah hem, hem!

And so. I threw my head back and commenced to sing. At the top of my lungs. This song called "For the Good of Them." And let's just be clear on something--I do NOT actually believe that I am anything even close to a decent singer. I don't. But seeing as nobody was home, I saw nothing wrong with making a joyful noise, man.

And boy oh boy was I making a joyful . . .errr. . . .noise.

So it started in my bathroom while I was washing my face. Next it went into my bedroom where I was looking for a pair of tights to put on. And just as the song escalates to its most booming climax, I made my way out into the hallway toward the boys playroom. Head back, diaphragm lifted, loud and proud.


The house was kind of echo-ey. I was digging the way my (horrible) voice was carrying through the vacuous hallway and ricocheting off of the walls. So I went ahead and turned up a notch--singing both the solo and the choir portion. Which is mad hilarious, now that I imagine it. But I'm just keeping it real with y'all and telling you what really happened.

So yeah. My soul needed that song, so I lifted my voice like I was Mahalia Jackson singing over the civil rights march on Washington. Sure did.

Mahalia Jackson at the March on Washington

Ad libs and all that.


And clearly the song escalates so YOU KNOW I did, too. Fists balled up, bootleg vibrato, closed eyes, and all that. You know--all the things you do when nobody's looking. And you know--especially with all that's going on right now--I was feeling it. Feeling it, do you hear me? Oh, baby, I was getting after it.


That's when I heard this through the bathroom door:

"Uuuhhh. . . speaking of 'The Lord'--OH LORD! Babe! Did you realize I was home? I'm home! And like. . . . I can . . .(insert breathless cackling here). . .  like, hear you! Oh my GAH-HA-HAAAAD!" 

Rut roh.


I froze over a plastic laundry basket. And all I could hear was the faint sound of Harry laughing so hard that he was breathless. Kind of like this:

"Aaah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah. . . .wo-oooww. . . "



Next he came bursting out of the guest bathroom with his eyes and mouth wide open. I so didn't know he was home. I so, so didn't. Y'all! That man could barely speak from his hysterical laughter--falling all over the ground and slapping his palms against the walls. "W-oooowwwwww! Bwwwwwaaaaaah Ha ha ha hahaaaa!"

Soooo mean.

Periodically, he'd just manage to eke out an incredulous, "Babe? Babe! Were you serious? Do you, like, secretly think you can sing?" Then he'd double over -- all over again.


Now. I can't even front and say that I wasn't just a wee bit embarrassed. I mean, as much as one can be embarrassed in front of their husband. Which, if you have a good marriage, isn't much. But, see, I knew the jokes that would come in the aftermath of this. Because this is what we do to each other when something awkward happens. And this was especially good.

Dang. I wish I was the one who'd caught him giving a live concert.


A couple of days later I was trying to finalize some things on the program for Deanna's homegoing service. So here we are having this serious conversation and I'm trying to sort out details about the soloists and the musical selections. Feeling a little frustrated and a bit confused about what to do next. And just when the conversation was starting to get kind of heavy, Harry looked at me all doe-eyed, touched my hand across the kitchen table and said:

"I mean . . .if you wanted to . .like. . .you could sing. You know. . .what's that song you sing? For the Good of Them?"

5 points for Slytherin, man. For real.

(I am SO Gryffindor, for the record.)

I just sat there scowling at him while he playfully stroked my hand. We were both trying so, so hard not to laugh but we were failing miserably. Finally, we exploded into the deepest, fullest belly laughs you could ever imagine. The kind that make other people laugh, too, even if they don't know what you're laughing about. Especially when Harry started mimicking my increasing amplitude and wretched hallway vibrato.



But I'm saying. I thought I was home by myself. And the bible said to make joyful noise, man. I'm just saying.

So, yeah. That was pretty funny. And awkward.

You know? Now that I think of it, I can be pretty awkward sometimes (despite my ridiculously cool outward appearance.)

Oh, and I also still want a mini-van (which, by definition, is pretty damn awkward.) Awkward or not--my swagger wagon WILL be tricked out with the booming system, and you can bet your bottom dollar that I WILL be getting my Whitney Houston in "The Bodyguard" on.

Mmm hmmm.

Ha ha ha. Awkwardness is so awesomely funny. And laughing at yourself is good for you. At least, that's what I think.

That's all I got, y'all.

Oh. And please--if you're in the Atlanta area and want some cool and affordable photographs (candid or studio quality) of your family or yourself, check out our friend Angus and his company, Nile Images.

And since I'm on the Angus shout out kick, here's a few of our snaps through the years.


Yeah. So, as you can see, Angus pretty much rocks. And he definitely has had to have some patience and a great eye to get such great shots every year. We heart him. Go Angus!

And, of course, here's the song that I was belting out. Please--for full awkward effect--picture me making all of the very same faces and gestures as this soloist. I wish I could say that's not what I was doing. I remain thankful that he only heard me and didn't see me.

But real talk -- this song was and has ministered to me many, many times. Especially now. It's been helping me a lot and reminding me to keep my head up (even if I should probably keep my voice down.)

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Hey! Tell me what magic talents to you develop when nobody's looking?


  1. I love that you are so full of heart and humility that you had me laughing until I cried over the "singing incident" with you and Harry in the midst of your sad times over losing your big sis. You are one amazing woman and I am so glad you have Harry at your side today and every day. x0 N2

  2. OMG! That was the best laugh! I'm sitting here cracking up in my office and looking out my window to be sure no one is out there, because I don't even want to have to drop a dime on you and that singing! LOL Thanks for sharing! Love the pics too!

  3. Great post- too funny! Love the family pics- what a gorgeous family you have.
    I will run an easy ten with you any day!!!

  4. I really am incredibly sorry about your loss of your sister. Her spirit shines through her picture and I can't even fathom your loss.

    Loved this post and I have to say that your family is beautiful. However, first thing that popped into my mind with the photo of BHE @ the grill? I kid you not, it was, "and I bet he still smells good."

    I have battled depression since I hit puberty. That's not said as a pity party thing, just as a fact of life. The only thing that keeps me going is music. Sometimes I think I wear people on fb out because I have to stop and feed my soul a few times a day and if it moves me, I share it. I try not to be jealous of the gifts that anyone else has, but oh how I wish I could sing. It's always been a puzzle to me how people that need music to live can not have music talent. Girl, I can't carry a note and have no rhythm at all but I sure can make a joyful noise. Not pretty, but joyful. :)

  5. My super-secret talents are secret and only show up in my dreams. Haha!
    Your family is so beautiful. I'm glad you've found a photographer who can catch that and give it back to you- proof of beauty, right there.

  6. I love love love the family pics. They are so beautiful. Deanna's scarves are gorgeous!! And that story was hilarious. It totally sounds like something I would do.

  7. Hater. 5 points for Slytherin. Absolutely HILARIOUS! Love this post and your story!

  8. I loved seeing your family photos! Such love knitting you all together. And again, how wonderful that your boys get to study being a man from your amazing (and seriously hot!) BHE.

  9. i love the photos-
    yes harry is HOT!!
    yes i miss you tremendously!!
    thinking of you and praying for you- keep sending the deanna tidbits! love them.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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