Monday, December 28, 2015

Post-Christmas Post


Ready to see what Santa brought them!
Hey y'all! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Here we are, three days after the big holiday, and I think everyone around here is experiencing the usual post-Christmas melancholy. As much fun as it is to be reunited with friends and family, once things return to their usual schedule, it's understandable to feel a little down. Let's be honest.. that's how I feel every time I come home from a vacation. And if I feel that way now, I can't image how I'll feel one week from today, after the big New Orleans Sugar Bowl bash.
 Life's funny like that.. to experience the highs, you have to sort expect the lows to follow. Someone once said without the spikes and the dips, you're just living a flat-lined life. In other words, not living at all.
 
Anyhow, Christmas itself was a blast, per usual. My mom threw her annual Christmas party for the family on the 23rd, and we had such a great time catching up with everyone. On Christmas morning my brother and I brought our dogs over to my parents' house to open presents and eat my the breakfast casserole my mom reserves only for special occasions -- so delicious! Afterwards, my brother and I went to see Joy with my aunt. The movie was cute, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. I won't give away any spoilers, but the entire film is about this woman's rather dull household invention. Even though the material itself wasn't that great, I can't pass up a chance to watch Bradley Cooper at work. After the movie, we returned to my house, where we camped out for the next three days, doing nothing but eating, drinking, napping, and watching movies. Those days were exactly what the doctor ordered; I can't remember the last time I've felt so relaxed and at peace.
 
Now, here we are, on Monday, back at work. Luckily, I'm only working today and tomorrow, and then I have all of Wednesday to pack, clean, and get ready for New Orleans! Obviously I'll keep you guys updated as much as I can, although these days my blog posts are few and far between. Until then, I hope you guys are all recovering well from another great Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Preserving the Memories

I know it's totally cliché, but there's something about the Christmas Season that chokes me up. The holidays always bring back memories of those we've lost along the way, and it's hard not to remember the holidays we spent with them in the past. I think I always automatically revert back to my childhood Christmas memories when my grandfather was alive.

Ironically enough, he hated Christmas. He had a little book that he brought out each year and kept on one of the side tables in the living room that described the 101 worst things about Christmas. As much as my grandfather loved our family, he was an introvert and often needed time to himself to recharge (a trait I seem to have inherited from him). I remember our loud, obnoxious annual family party leading up to Christmas Eve (which my mom now hosts each year) held at my grandparents' house. My grandfather would always wander off into an empty part of the house so that he could enjoy the silence and drink his scotch and smoke his cigarettes in peace. 

Many times I'd make it my mission to track him down and sit beside him quietly, just enjoying the faraway music and laughter as our family members celebrated being together. I think I've taken that part of him, or rather that memory of him, and in my own way I recreate it each year. There's something comforting to me about being alone with my thoughts while listening to life happen in another room. The Christmas music my grandfather loved so much -- Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney -- always brings me back to that place, and creates a deep sense of inner peace in my bones.

Whether it be a beach vacation or a holiday party, there's something in me that always causes me to step back, appreciate the moment I'm living in, and listen from a distance as those I love the most enjoy themselves. For it's these moments that will eventually fade from our reality and turn into distant memories. The best way to preserve these memories within us is to soak them up in their entirety as they happen.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

NOLA New Years!

It's official!!! I'm spending New Year's Eve in New Orleans with some of my favorite people! And what's even better -- we're also there to see the Rebels play in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day! I haven't been this excited to take a trip in the longest time, so now I have something to look forward to!

I know I owe y'all a general update, so I promise I'll get to it sometime later this week. Work has been insane lately, so please give me the benefit of the doubt!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Life Lately

Well, let's see. I'm not sure where to start. There's been a lot going on in my neck of the woods lately, so I'm trying to organize my thoughts.

My dad, as some of you may know, was diagnosed with prostate cancer last month. He opted to go ahead with a prostatectomy last Wednesday and only spend one night in the hospital. His recovery has been going as well as can be expected, and he was already back at work two days post-op. If y'all knew my dad, you'd know how much he hates to be restricted. The man was working out at the YMCA three days after having hip replacement surgery, so I knew it wouldn't be long until he was up and running this time. I'm so unbelievably thankful that everything went as well as it did, and that his tests have come back indicating that the cancer has not spread throughout his body. I'll be counting my blessings from here until kingdom come that he's alright and that this cancer prognosis was a mild blip on the radar.

Work is crazier than usual, as I'm now handling the caseload of two paralegals. When one of the other civil litigation paralegals gave notice a couple months back, I was asked if I would be willing to take on extra work. Of course, I jumped at the chance, and now I barely have time to think. But then, that's a good thing, seeing as how I would so much rather be busy than bored.


In FABULOUS news, I'm headed to Oxford tomorrow to be reunited with all my lovely ladies! We're renting a house in Oxford for the Ole Miss v. Arkansas weekend, and I could not be more excited!! I could really use something to look forward to right now, and nothing could make me happier than to be back with the old gang.


And so the world turns. Wish us luck in our game against Arkansas on Friday!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cancer.

It's something everyone has experience with. Everyone knows someone who's had it, or they've been directly affected by it. It's something you can't run away from. You'd think by this point in time they would have found a way to cure it -- if at not cure it all, then at least cure certain types of it. There have to be better alternatives to chemo and radiation by now. At least you'd think.

My dad was diagnosed recently with prostate cancer. The moment he said those words, I think the blood rushed out of my face and I scrambled to remember -- prostate cancer, that's the one that's almost always fatal, right? No, he assured me, that was pancreatic cancer. Apparently prostate cancer is highly curable, if caught early enough. And thank God, his was. That doesn't mean he won't have to make sacrifices -- they're taking him into surgery to remove his prostate at the end of the month. But they're fairly sure it hasn't spread elsewhere in his body. So I should be thanking my lucky stars. And I am. Yet there's something about that ugly C word that gets everyone riled up and emotional for different reasons. Like almost everyone, I've had plenty of experience with it.

My cousin (the only cousin I have on my dad's side) died from cancer two years ago. He was young -- about 33 I think -- and he had a wife and two young kids when it happened. He'd had some sort of skin cancer that they had removed, and everyone thought that would be the end of the story. But he began having dizzy spells and severe nausea and at times began hallucinating. He was admitted to the hospital (a good one, in Charlotte) and they struggled to figure out what was wrong with him. They ran panels and MRIs and every sort of test you can think of. Somehow, though, they just couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. It only took a few weeks for his condition to decline. Rapidly. Into a coma. Before long, my aunt and my cousin's wife agreed that it was time to pull the plug, as the doctors were fairly certain he'd never wake up. It wasn't until six months after the funeral that the autopsy results came back. Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. You'd think that a hospital full of competent doctors could have diagnosed something like that. Apparently not.

My grandfather smoked a pack a day of Doral cigarettes. Growing up, I don't remember a time where I didn't see him with a cigarette in one hand and a scotch in the other. That was just his way, just his generation. It's what they did. I loved that man dearly, as did his entire family. Some of my fondest memories are of me cuddled up next to him in his armchair in the formal living room at my grandparents' house, listening to Rosemary Clooney crow on the stereo. He loved Rosemary Clooney. Before he died my mom took him to one of her concerts in Raleigh. My grandmother had grown up down the street from Rosemary, and Rosemary heard that my grandparents would be at the show that night. She invited them back, and my grandfather was able to meet her. My mom glows when she talks about that night, about how that was the last time he was truly happy. Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with cancer on my 12th birthday in September. He was gone less than two months later, passing away in his own home surrounded by his wife and four children on December 13th that year. I remember my mom breaking down in hysterics at the funeral home because they'd forgotten to bring his favorite pair of glasses to bury him in. That was my first true experience with death, something I remember with perfect clarity and with a great deal of uneasiness.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the "C" word is something that's inevitable. We just can't escape it. We all know someone who has been diagnosed, and we all know someone who has lost their battle to it. Just when we think we're safe, it strikes again, and sometimes it strikes close to home.

All we can do at this point is pray that one day we'll find a cure.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Beating Bama

Good grief. Y'all. If you're not into football or you've been living under a rock for the past 24 hours, let me be the one to tell you the good news -- Ole Miss beat Alabama 43-37 IN TUSCALOOSA on Saturday night. This is the second time in the HISTORY of our football program that we were able to win against Bama in their own stadium. Not to mention the fact that we won back-to-back games against this team, and that's not an easy feat (apparently it's only been done a handful of times by LSU). See the source image


We're currently tied for 3rd in the AP College Football Poll. As long as we're able to beat LSU and Texas A&M (both home games) later this season, people are saying that we're a shoe-in to win the College Football Championship at the end of the year. My ex placed a bet on Ole Miss winning the championship when he was in Vegas earlier this year (ostensibly as a joke), and I'm holding on to that ticket. Let's cross our fingers that I'll be collecting a hefty little sum later on this year. Maybe it's time that people stopped joking about our football program and started taking notice that we've officially ARRIVED on the scene.

HOTTY TODDY, Y'ALL!!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Getting My "Gameday" On

I found this post of mine from around this time last year, and I think it proves remarkably relevant for the Ole Miss game tomorrow, so enjoy.

It starts out with all my coworkers asking how nervous I am. They want to know if I think the team is prepared, if they have the skills to win, if I have money riding on the game.
nervous animated GIF

Am I nervous? Hell, I can barely concentrate on anything else.
coffee animated GIF

On Saturday morning I try (unsuccessfully) to maintain my composure and go through my usual routine.
drunk animated GIF

Waiting for kickoff is the hardest part.
katy perry animated GIF


When my team appears on the screen, I'm ready to cheer them on.
football animated GIF


Gotta pour myself a drink and get my game face on.
funny animated GIF

Coach Freeze will inevitably get angry with one of the referees.
football animated GIF

And so will I.
Glee

There will be times of mixed emotions.
Harry Potter

But at times I'll get myself way too excited.
girl animated GIF

The game will bring mixed emotions among my group of friends
snl animated GIF

I'll need a break at halftime to calm my nerves.
RealityTVGIFs animated GIF

We'll either lose the game..
sad animated GIF

Or we'll win.
fan animated GIF

Either way, I'll be proud of my Rebels.
bo

And if all else fails, I'll just remember the time we beat Alabama.


Life Lately

I don't deserve to call myself a "blogger" at this point because I've honestly become so unbelievably terrible at keeping up with this thing. Either way, I promised you guys an update on the goings-on around here, so let's go ahead and cut to the chase.

At first I wasn't really planning on telling many people this (and to be honest I've really only told a select few of my close friends), but my dad was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. I've done some research into it, and it doesn't seem to be as serious a condition as some other cancers, so there's that. He's having his prostate removed at the end of October and, according to his doctors, that's really the only treatment needed at this point. He scored in the middle range on the Gleason Scale, and it doesn't appear that the cancer has spread elsewhere. So I'm just sort of holding my breath and expecting that his surgery will go well and that the problem will be handled quickly and effectively.

Chad Kelly, Ole Miss QB
On a much happier note, football season is among us! As you may have seen, I'm already busy looking forward to the Ole Miss - Alabama game tomorrow night ("looking forward to" might be a bit of an understatement). I have so much confidence in our new QB Chad Kelly and I know that our defense is one of the strongest in the country. A victory against #2 Alabama would pretty much guarantee us a chance to win the SEC championship. But that's all just a pipe dream until we prove we can actually do it. If you're a football fan, I highly recommend you tune in to ESPN tomorrow night at 9:15 p.m. for the game -- it's going to be a close one.

Work is crazy right now. Out of nowhere, our summer slump disappeared into thin air and everyone is juggling a little more than they can handle at the moment. But to be honest.. I'm totally fine with it. I'd rather have too much to do than not enough. That being said, this blog will probably be a little neglected (as if it isn't already) in the coming months until things calm down.

My birthday was fantastic. I received so many well wishes from my friends, family and coworkers that it really does put into focus how blessed I am. I was treated to many birthday lunches and happy hour drinks this week (speaking of which.. the diet starts Monday) by so many different people. I'm not saying I've accepted the one-year-closer-to-thirty mentality quite yet, but so far it's been made easy for me. I can't imagine what this year will bring, but I'm excited to find out.

Anyhow, that's about all I know at the moment. I hope everyone has a marvelous weekend and be sure to tune in to the game tomorrow night!!

Hotty Toddy, y'all!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thought for the Day

"From her mistakes, she had codified an unadulterated ethic: Love was not a bridesmaid of despair; love did not have to hurt. Love has no weapons; it has no fists. Love does not bruise, nor does it draw blood."
- Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy

Monday, August 24, 2015

San Francisco (Part Three)

Okay, guys. Here's my last batch of pictures from San Francisco. Like I said, I took way too many pictures that week, but there was just so much to see!
 
Wall mural in Haight-Ashbury.
 
The Bay Bridge

They called these little things "Go Cars". They were everywhere.
Picture of the Boardwalk down near Pier 39.

Dock in Sausalito.

An Anchor Steam beer at Top of the Mark

Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

The Financial District.

Top of the Mark, the restaurant/bar in our hotel.

Sausalito
 
View of the skyline from the Rocket Boat.
 
San Francisco Opera House.


Haight-Ashbury.

Haight-Ashbury Sports Park.

Interesting view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

View of the skyline along with the ballpark.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Bar Review !

As some of you might remember, I was recently asked to write a monthly column on new local bars and restaurants for the Raleigh Public Record. My first article was posted this morning! Even if y'all aren't familiar with the Raleigh area, it's a humorous read if I do say so myself.

The Bar Review
by Molly Moore

When the editor of the Raleigh Public Record approached me recently about writing a monthly column on the local bar/restaurant scene, my first instinct was to turn him down. After all, the only newspaper experience I’ve had involves a Journalism 101 college course in which I fine-tuned my covert napping skills while appearing to be alert.


Clouds Brewing Company on N. West Street in Downtown Raleigh
Clouds Brewing Company on N. West Street in Downtown Raleigh
Photo by James Borden / Raleigh Public Record
However, I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so I decided to give it a shot. While I don’t consider myself to be a food critic or beer snob of sorts (both of which seem to be rather abundant in the Triangle), I have a great deal of faith in my own opinions. And like any other red-blooded American, I’m convinced my personal judgments are concrete.

On a recent Saturday, I decided to embark upon my first research assignment. While everyone with a pulse rushed over to the new Raleigh Beer Garden, I decided to take the road less traveled and visit Clouds Brewing, which is quickly approaching its one-year anniversary.

On its website Clouds describes the menu as being “Contemporary America with a German flair”, so I opted to break out the big guns and invite a friend of mine who was born and raised in Bavaria. After all, who better to help me tackle a menu comprised of Schnitzel, Bratwurst, and Hefeweizens than a native German?

Clouds Brewing lovely outdoor patio
Clouds Brewing -- lovely outdoor patio (photo by James Borden)
We arrived at Clouds around 12:30 on Saturday afternoon and were eventually greeted by one of the four staff members chit-chatting leisurely around the hostess stand. The restaurant seemed suspiciously empty, especially considering the prime lunch hour, but we assumed that might be in part to the novelty of the nearby Raleigh Beer Garden.

Once we were finally seated on the outdoor patio, it took almost fifteen minutes for our server to appear at our table. Although he was a nice enough guy, he didn’t seem to know much about the menu, like what, exactly, was in the “German” potato salad, and failed to mention the daily specials.

After giving us a quick introduction of “the Downpour”, the self-serve beer wall featuring 10 rotating taps, our server handed us a couple of wristbands to electronically keep track of our beers. Among the choices on the beer wall, most were either of the IPA variety or fruit-based brews. As I wandered over to the bar to see what types of beers were available on tap, I was a bit befuddled to see that most of the tap handles had been assembled backward.

In other words, to see the name of the beers I would have either had to lean over the bar to read them — a virtual accident waiting to happen — or would need to have memorized the general shapes of each of the 30 taps. Since the bartender was nowhere to be found, I ventured back to “the Downpour” and managed to pour myself a glass of the Foothills Dopplebock before returning to my table.

As we studied the menu, my sidekick found issue with more than a few of the “German” items available, most notably the fact that the Bratwurst was served with barbecue sauce and thus necessitating a mustard hijacking from a less deserving dish on the menu.

We started by ordering the Cranberry Brie appetizer, for which I initially had high hopes but was ultimately disappointed. The Brie tasted store-bought and bland, and the cranberry sauce contained more sugar than anything else. After one bite each of the appetizer, we quietly pushed the dish aside without another word.

IMG_2208Our entrees arrived shortly thereafter: the Bavarian Grilled Cheese for me and the Bratwurst Platter, sans barbecue sauce, for my partner in crime. While my sandwich was little more than melted cheese and bratwurst on a stale bread roll, I must say I greatly enjoyed my side of “German” potato salad (the ingredients of which are still a mystery).

Perhaps the greatest mystery — to me, at least — is the fact that “Clouds Brewing” is not yet technically a brewery. While I have heard that the state and federal licensing requirements for breweries can be a tough undertaking, I think I would be more inclined to forgive the “brewing” moniker had it been something more generic, such as “brew-pub”.

According to the information on their website, the actual brewery is still under construction and not due to open for another couple of months. The legality of calling an establishment a “brewery” long before it begins brewing beer is out of my scope of expertise, but I can’t help but find it a little puzzling. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. Maybe I should open my own vineyard and just resell bottom-shelf bottles of wine from Harris Teeter. I’ll plant a few grape seeds in the backyard just to make everything seem legitimate.

Overall, the experience at Clouds Brewing was decent. I can appreciate the fact that they have a good variety of beers from which to choose, provided you can read backward tap handles or learn to pour your own beer from the infamous “Downpour.”

The food was somewhat hit-or-miss, although the German potato salad was definitely wunderbar, and the service was agreeable, so long as you’re not in a hurry. Although I wouldn’t be entirely opposed to revisiting this establishment at some point, I plan on having my hands full with new (and maybe not so new) bars and restaurants to size up for your reading pleasure in the near future. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

San Francisco (Part Two)

Good morning everyone! I'll continue on with my series of photos from my recent San Francisco trip.
 
Lombard Street
Cline Winery
 
Madonna Estates Winery
 
Sequoia Tree at Yosemite

Cline Winery
View from Yosemite -- El Capitan on the left.



Lombard Street



The oldest saloon in California.
Our hotel -- The Mark Hopkins


This pond was originally 12 feet deep before the drought began.

Sonoma Coast Chardonnay grapes.