Friday Nights and Fried Rice

IMG_7078My 7th post for NaBloPoMo is a photo from dinner. During last few weeks we’ve gone out with our son and with our sweet friend, Allie on Friday nights. It’s our new tradition. We’ve had a great time, eating great food, talking, and just having fun. Allie will graduate MSU in December, so we’re soaking up every minute with her. We all know she’ll soon leave Murray and start a new life with big girl dreams and big girl responsibilities. But until she crosses that stage at graduation, we’ll keep enjoying our Friday nights and nerdy sci-fi debates over fried rice.

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The Racers are Playing and I’m Missing It

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We love Racer basketball and look forward to every game.

Tonight, Murray State University kicks off its basketball season. And I’m missing it. Granted its only an exhibition game against a small school from down the road. But still — I’m missing it.

I’ve waited six months for this season to begin. The Racers are coming off a national championship (no not that national championship) the College Insider Tournament (CIT). Winning the CIT was the icing on the cake, after a difficult season. The whole town is abuzz about this year’s potential. While other college basketball fans think of winning the NCAA tournament, Racer fans only want four things:

1) Beat Western KY University
2) Beat Austin Peay
3) Beat Belmont
4) Win the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) title back

Its not much, but to RacerNation, achieving those four things will make us all pretty darn happy. If we do win the OVC, then we’ll get to go back to the NCAA — that will be exciting. But I promise you, winning those three games mentioned above, will mean more than bringing home the NCAA title. Well, okay, probably not. I guess winning the NCAA would be nice, but beating the crap out of Belmont will feel much better. You see, life’s much simpler when you’re a mid-major basketball fan.

When you live in the Bluegrass State, everybody is a basketball fan. To be specific, we’re all college basketball fans. The NBA has never really held our attention. Babies born during basketball season come home from the hospital wearing UK or UofL gear. If its game day — their parents are dressed to match.

Kentuckians aren’t that concerned about college football. Its not that we don’t like the sport, but its just not the same. And besides isn’t the best part of a college football game really the half-time show? Our football teams might struggle, but we’ve got some amazing marching bands.

But I digress.

Instead of cheering the Racers to a victory tonight, I’m already in my pj’s. After I publish this post I’ll snuggle up with our fur babies and watch an episode of Ally McBeal on Netflix. Once I drift off to sleep, I’m sure I’ll dream about next week’s game against Houston.

Go Racers!

Dinner on a Wednesday Night

Tonight when I walked through the door, by darling husband was standing at the stove. He had mixed up a batch of corn bread and was warming leftover chicken noodle soup for supper. I could tell he was perplexed — or perhaps at the end of his rope. I wasn’t sure which it was until I looked in the pot and saw very little soup actually in there. I quickly took over and sent him off to light a fire before he offered to take us out for dinner.

We’ve been eating out too much lately. While eating out solves many problems, it creates others. It solves the problem that the three of us eat very different diets, so each of us gets what we want. Our son is a college student, so he wants plenty of meat and very few vegetables. I prefer all vegetable meals, and Vince wants a meat and three. If only we all liked the same vegetables or the same meats, cooking during the week would be easier.

Eating out solves the problem of who will do the dishes — or who won’t do the dishes. It also means that we will actually eat together at a table, when usually Sam heads to his room and we head for the couch.

One of the problems it creates is where to eat. We’re picky about restaurants. We have one criteria — the restaurant has to be locally-owned. While we might, on a vary rare occasion, eat at a chain, it only happens from necessity. Unfortunately, we’ve tried all the local restaurants, and we’re pretty confident that we’re better cooks that 90% of the places in town. So right now, we’re down to three restaurants and frankly, we’re tired of their menus. I was determined that, tonight, we were going to eat at home.

As Vince walked out of the kitchen, I grabbed the other storage container of soup that he didn’t know was in the fridge. I also added a container of homemade chicken broth. Then a few more noodles, peas, carrots, butter, salt and pepper, and tossed in a little extra cumin (the real reason chicken soup is good for you). I filled the cornbread pans and went to change into my pajamas and hug on our furbabies, who were patiently waiting to be greeted. Twenty minutes later, our bowls were overflowing with our favorite soup. As expected, Sam took his bowl to his room and we headed for the couch. With a roaring fire warming up the room and soup warming up our tummies, I think we all took a deep sigh of relief and peace. I know I did.

Here’s a link to some of my favorite soups. I promise, they’re all simple and full of goodness. Perfect on a chilly night. I like to make a big batch of soup on the weekends. If I’m lucky, there will be enough leftovers to get us through one weeknight meal and a couple of lunches.

https://chezmedlock.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/my-favorite-soup-recipes/

My Brain is Mush

Its day four of NaBloPoMo and frankly, I can barely form a sentence. I spent the whole day writing. My brain is mush and its my bedtime. Not a good combination for a clever blog post. But I’m determined to post something, I can’t fail at this process on day four. That would just be sad. The thing is, I’ve already published a blog post today, but that was for work and not for Despite Everything. So it doesn’t count. (But if you’re curious, go visit the other blog I write for, PADD Perspectives.)

I’m thrilled that I got to spend the day writing. I’m blessed to have a job that allows me to exercise my creative muscles. But writing challenges me more than anything else I do. I’m not a natural writer. It takes me forever to find the right words or define the right mood. Eventually, I get there. Some stories are better than others. I’ll never win any awards for my writing efforts, but they are always the best that I can do.

Unlike tonight, when I just want to fulfill my obligation to post something more than I got up. I went to work. I checked off a couple items from my to-do list. I got off the beaten path when I drove home. I voted. I got to see my son cast his first vote. I watched the election returns. And then I remembered to write this post.

See, some stories really are better than others. I promise I’ll do better tomorrow. Hopefully.

Everybody Has a Story to Tell

Everyone has a story tell; unfortunately, not everyone has someone to listen. There are people all around us who are lonely and just need to know that someone cares. It doesn’t matter what socioeconomic class they may be in, loneliness is an equal opportunity emotion.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the privilege of meeting two individuals. Because of their unique circumstances, they have found themselves struggling. They’ve both worked hard all their lives. Neither expected their golden years to be what they’ve become. And neither has allowed their situation to break their spirit.

As I sat listening to their individual stories, I realized that I had a been given an overwhelming privilege by becoming their friend. I tried to soak up every moment of our time together. But most of all, I listened and prayed that I wouldn’t trivialize their lives by my attempts to justify a program service. I appreciated how they shared their stories with honesty and insight. They thoughtfully answered my questions and then smiled for my camera.

While both made an impact on me too deep to describe here on this blog, I find it fitting to acknowledge my time with them during NaBloPoMo. Because I will forever carry their stories in my heart.

There are thousands of others just waiting to tell their stories. Will you stop and listen? Or simply give a stranger a smile? How many of us have hurriedly passed a stranger on the street, hoping not to catch their eye? Why do we do that? Is it because we’re too busy in our own lives to give a few minutes to another human being? Or is it because we don’t want to be burdened with the unfortunate side of life? Afraid that we might somehow expose our own pain by listening to theirs?

I challenge you, my readers, to go outside of your comfort zone and find a way to listen to a stranger’s story. You’ll be rewarded for the effort, and they will know that they matter and aren’t alone in this world.

 

 

 

 

If it’s Sunday, it’s Laundry Day

imageWe’ve been married for 23 years. Lucky for me, we share most of the household tasks. We cook together, we clean house together, and we work in our yard together. We avoid washing the windows together. Without Vince’s help, I could never accomplish everything my mother taught me are necessary household chores. But in all these years, I alone have had the sole responsibility of doing laundry.

Every Saturday morning, Sam and I deliver our dirty duds to the laundry room. Most of the time, he dumps it in the middle of the floor. If I’ve left some clue to which basket is for jeans and which basket is for black t-shirts, he’ll go ahead and sort. Otherwise, he’ll leave it for me to deal with.

Vince on the other hand, leaves his dirty duds piled in the bathroom. Sometimes, he’ll pick them up and dump them on my pile of dirty duds in our bedroom. But most of the time, there’s a growing tower of dirty laundry beside the shower. For years, I would pick it up for him. Then I decided that, as a grown man, he can see the non-compliant structure being built in our bathroom. If he does manage to take his dirty duds to the laundry room, he won’t attempt to sort as my method befuddles him. Unlike our son, he won’t just add his jeans to the dirty jeans basket. I’ve tried to teach him how to sort, but he can’t comprehend its simplicity: whites, grays and khakis, colors, navy and black, and jeans. He overthinks it by considering the density of each item. Washing sheets with towels doesn’t make sense to him. Washing white sheets and white towels together makes perfect sense to me.

Probably more than I realize, over the years Vince has tackled loads of laundry for me. Sometimes, I’ll ask. Sometimes, it’s from necessity. He never complains, and bless his heart, in the last few weeks he’s even been helping fold and putting things away.

At Chez Medlock, doing laundry is a six-step process. Anything less isn’t “doing laundry.”

Step One: Collecting the dirty laundry.

Step Two: Sorting the dirty laundry.

Step Three: Washing each load following a specific order of priority.
a. Two loads of whites
i. Sheets and towels
ii. Everything else that is white
b. One load of gray and khaki
c. One load of colors
d. One load of navy and black
e. One load of jeans

Step Four: Drying the clean laundry.

Step Five: Folding the clean laundry.

Step Six: Putting away the clean laundry.

This is where I will disclose that my clothing doesn’t actually get put away. Once sorted, things that aren’t hung in my closet stay dumped on the laundry room counter. I don’t have enough storage, but then what woman does?

Sundays are laundry day. I’ve tried doing laundry during the week, but frankly it drives me crazy. I’ll forget a step, or worse, I’ll forget that I started a load only to discover it the following Sunday. Yeeks!

No matter what else I’m doing on a Sunday, doing laundry seems to naturally fit in. So here, on NaBloPoMo Day 2, I’m spending the day going through the Medlock Six-Step Process of Laundry Day. Other things might get accomplished or they might not. But at least we’ll have clean clothes for the week.

So what’s your laundry routine? Leave a comment below and tell me how you make the world a cleaner place by doing laundry.

Because I Have Nothing Else To Do #NaBloPoMo2014

imageIt’s official, I’ve lost my mind and joined National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). Each day in November, I’ve pledged to post something (photo, poem, recipe, or haiku) to Despite Everything. Considering I haven’t posted anything to this blog since May, this will either be the jump start I need or it will become something that I’ll easily forget. Either way, I’m up for the creative challenge and looking forward to writing here once again. After all, I have nothing else to do, right? Cough. Cough.

So what is NaBloPoMo?

National Blog Posting Month began in November 2006, as a response to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrMo) where participants pledge to write a 50,000-word novel in month. I might be crazy, but I’m not that crazy. Although, I met the inspiration for a character this week, when I turned down the wrong road and came to face-to-face with a woman named Ida.

I’ve missed writing posts for Despite Everything. I’m sure my siblings were relieved when I stopped publishing photos on the internet from our parent’s photo albums. I’m also sure our friends were relieved that every dinner or adventure stopped being inspiration for a new blog post. I, too, was relieved to rid myself of an overwhelming responsibility to be clever. At the time I stopped writing, I needed to simply live life. Not write about it.

So if I was so relieved, why did I sign up for a 30-day writing challenge? The most simple answer is, why not? I loved the feeling of accomplishment of pushing the WordPress publish button. I loved how our readers responded to what we had to say or what we were trying to accomplish. I loved how it connected me to friends and family. I loved that despite all the reasons I stopped writing, people kept reading. Everyday, readers found their way to this blog and our Facebook page. From time-to-time, people even would stop me and ask when was I going to start writing again.

So here we go — 30 days of new blog posts. I can’t promise that they’ll be clever or even inspirational. But for the next 30 days, you can count on something being published. I’ve created a special tab on the menu bar so that you can keep up. I’ll need encouragement along the way, so make sure to drop me a comment. Or two. Or everyday. After all, I’m sure you have nothing better to do too.

Let’s do this!