From behind the merch table

May 17th, 2014 2 comments

Once in awhile, when I go to see my husband play a show, I sell merch for the band. I sincerely enjoy doing this, as over the last few years of bartending I’ve grown to LOVE meeting random people. Sometimes even the grouchy jerks.

Yesterday, the band was at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, which is only an hour’s drive from Nashville. I knew that with it being a show on-base that going just to go was pretty much not going to happen, but if they needed a merch girl I was available. If not, that’s all right. I have over two weeks of photos to edit, anyway. BUT, I was super happy that they did need a merch person, and I got the call to do it.

Don't worry, I had my phone mounted on the windshield so all I did was tap the screen to take this picture.

Don’t worry, I had my phone mounted on the windshield so all I did was tap the screen to take this picture as I entered Kentucky on I-24.

Now, my truck is the cleanest on the inside as its been since we bought it. I had no idea what to expect when entering the base, so if they needed to search my truck they really didn’t need to go through empty to-go cups and months worth of gas receipts.

Luckily, after some unexpected logistical changes, it all worked out that I had the tour manager with me and all I had to do was give them my driver’s license to get on base. WHEW!!

I hit the ground running as soon as we got parked, as they had opened the gates early and there were already a lot of people around looking to buy merchandise.  I was thankfully relatively busy from the time I started to the time we tore down to head out.

2014-05-16 16.37.00

My view for the day… I couldn’t complain about anything except how ridiculously windy it was.

Now the highlights of the day:

  • Being introduced during the show as being “from the great state of Texas!” — something I only heard in the background as I had a line of people wanting stuff at the time. But I DID hear it, and it made me smile.
  • Military guys GET the importance of respect. I was called, “Ma’am” all day long, and it made me beam every single time. It was NOT an age thing (even though I probably was about *cough*10*cough* years older than a majority of them) but a total, “This is how you talk to a woman,” thing. And I loved it every single time.
  • Met a guy who grew up maybe 10 miles from me, which was pretty crazy for both of us to realize.
  • Big & Rich turned “You Shook Me All Night Long” into a country shuffle and as wrong as it was, it was so awesome that I want it recorded and on my computer RIGHT NOW.
  • I was reminded that Pepperoni Pizza Combos are a totally legit dinner food.
  • I sold out of the awesome hoodies that we sell and that I practically live in myself.

2014-05-16 19.12.38

Now for the parts of the day that made me chuckle and shake my head:

  • “I want that one!” *points* “Which one?” “That one! Right there!” “The blue t-shirt or the brown one?” “No, the grey jacket!” “Oh.”  Note: Please be more specific on what you want, because when you point, Merch people can’t tell which one you mean exactly and then we just all get frustrated.
  • “So are the kids games going to be here tomorrow?” “I don’t know…” “Is there anything to do around here for kids?” “Really, I don’t know…” “Do you have a program?” “No.”
  • “$25? Can I just give you $20?” “No.”
  • “Is he coming out to sign autographs later? The opening act did.” “I don’t think so.” “Why not? Can you call and ask someone?” “No, I can’t. I really don’t think there will be any open meet & greet after.” “Should I just hang out over here after he gets done just in case.” “Whatever blows your skirt up.”
  • “Hey you can run credit cards!?” “Yup!” “Really?” “Hey this ain’t no dog and pony show!” “Huh?” *sigh*
  • “Any way I can get this autographed?” “Will this shrink?” “Do you have it in another color?” No. Maybe. No.


I seriously had a blast. Ironically, after I got home and I thought about the day, I realized that while we were at the same venue all day, my husband and I saw each other for MAYBE an hour and a half, and that was mostly because we were able to grab McDonald’s after the show together. But you know, I wouldn’t change ANYTHING about the day, and I honestly can’t wait to do it again.

[Blogging for Books] — Tender Warrior

May 12th, 2014 No comments

I requested Tender Warrior by Stu Webber for my husband to read and give me his feedback. This was pretty much forever ago, as life got busy and he never got a chance to read it. It got shelved and (to be completely honest) forgotten about. Until I ran into the Blogging for Books twitter feed and was reminded I had the book lying around. Time to drag it out and read it myself!

“Every man’s purpose. Every woman’s dream. Every child’s hope.”

This book is a wonderful guidebook for men with the aim of becoming all they can be through real life stories and scripture. Weber divides manhood into four divisions: King , Warrior, Mentor, Friend. Within that, he shows how it is important for men to be (as the title implies) both sensitive and strong.

This is definitely a book for men, and I hope I can get my husband to still read it some day. I love that a book like this exists, and I think it is one all men should read. I especially think it would make a great gift for young, college-age men to read to give them a positive start in all their relationships as they embark on life.

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group book review bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

15 Ridiculously Random Things About Me

May 6th, 2014 1 comment

It’s been a really long time since I did a whole, “Hey let me tell you some weird stuff about me” posts. Today seems like a good day to be random, right?

2014-05-03 20.06.47

1. My husband is the only guy I ever dated. I’m rather proud of this fact. Oh I went out. And I had serious interest in other guys at one time or another. But nothing worth mentioning. No, I got a “Teen Creed” when I was… 11? 12? But the one item that stood out the most to me on that plaque was, “Choose only a date that would make a good mate.” Some would roll their eyes at that, but it really stuck with me. And I honestly did just that. I didn’t want to waste my time or anyone else’s time with anything that clearly had no future or direction. And as a result I can honestly say my husband is my one and only.

2. Junior year of high school was brutal. People think your Freshman year is tough. Pshaw. That was a cake walk for me! I pretty much excelled in everything I put my hands on that year. Junior year? Junior year was HARD. It was that last full year that would appear on all my transcripts when I applied for college. So as a result I took a full — and I do mean FULL — course load. On top of pretty much every organization I could be a member of, on top of band and color guard. Look, I lived on either popcorn, potato chips or Fritos because they were the only thing that didn’t give me an upset stomach. Stress? Oh yeah. That was serious stress.

3. I played a piccolo for awhile. I played flute in high school. And I was pretty darn good at it. I sat within the first four chairs at all times — often first or second chair. (The first time I got first chair was playing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” in sixth grade.) As a result, for a period of time I was stuck playing piccolo. Because, well, you can’t frickin’ hide when you play piccolo. You have to know your stuff because YOU CAN’T HIDE. Those damn little instruments are shrill and LOUD. But I did it. And I’m kinda proud I did. Even though I would never, ever, ever, ever ask to play it again.

3a. I still have my flute.

3b. No, I never play it any more because it desperately needs new pads and corks and all that jazz.


4. I hate peas and carrots. I might not hate them now if not for “a bad experience” when I was little. You know, one of those moments I’ll remember to the day I die, even if I have memory failure and can’t even tell you my own name. The day the daycare worker went, “How do you know you don’t like it? Here let me shove his spoonful in your mouth for you.”  I don’t even know who that woman was any more, but I still hate her right there along with her precious peas and carrots.

5.  I was madly in love with Bryan White in high school. How I still have any friends from back then is BEYOND ME. I was obsessed. Much like girls are obsessed with Justin Bieber or… uhm… whomever is big right now. (I’m so out of touch…) I mean, I spent every free moment trying to find out everything I could about him and playing his music non-stop. I was in love. Right along with half the other country music loving teenage girls in America. I love it when, today, I’ll bring it up to friends. New friends who will go, “OMG, me too! I had the pillow case, t-shirt, posters…” and old friends who roll their eyes and change the subject.

6. For being a very positive person, I have a long (very long) list of pet peeves. Every sort of driving offense you can make. Lots of peeves in the kitchen (don’t you DARE double dip a spoon).  I have a serious need for security and any breach of that, like leaving doors unlocked, can put me in a bad mood. Mornings. Mornings are a pet peeve. I’m actually much higher maintenance of a person that I appear to be when it comes to these minute and random irritations.

7. I have zero formal photography training. Well, maybe that’s not 100% true. In high school we had a shortage of photographers. I never could fit photography in my schedule, but I was newspaper editor. So the photography teacher (aka history teacher aka coach) gave me about a 5 minute crash course using one of the schools old black and white 35 mm cameras. That’s the extent of my training. I’ve signed up and paid for an online course, but I’ve yet to do anything with it. Everything I do is self taught. And I am learned every single second of every single day.

Oregon - July 2012

8. Denise. Niecie. Nise. I answer to ‘em all. Denise is, of course, my given name. Niecie is the nickname I’ve perhaps had the longest, off and on. Not really officially so much as just a shortening of “Denise” that some would use from time to time. I had a teacher in HS that pretty much deemed it a permanent and official nickname. I didn’t mind. Then a group of friends online later made it just “Nise” which I actually use quite a bit today.

9. If I had made “A” team in 8th grade basketball, I’d have played sports in high school. Its true. I was “B” team in pretty much everything in junior high. An athlete I am not. I might be tall, but I’m all knees and elbows. But I was pretty good in basketball, and rumor was that I’d make the “A” team. If I had, I’d have played in high school. However, regaled to “B” team, I dropped all notion of that. A blessing in disguise.

10. I hate wearing shorts. I think it comes from years of not finding shorts that fit the dress code in high school. So I just gave up on it. Today, if I wear shorts, even my husband comments how short they are. Well, when you’re practically 6′ tall and are all legs, you almost have to buy capris to have long enough shorts! So, again, I gave up on it. About the only time you see me in shorts is around the house, at CMA Fest and maybe going to the lake. Past that? Jeans all the way.

11. I went to bartending school in Austin when I wasn’t having luck/interest in finding a journalism job. I’m pretty sure no one expected me to ever use the skills I learned there. Ironically, not long after finishing the class I landed two job offers at newspapers. It would be over 5 years before I got back behind a bar, grateful I invested in that class. Some weird life foreshadowing? Perhaps.

12. I learned about wanting something TOO much the hard way. In elementary school, I decided I wanted to be a “flag girl.” End of my freshman year, I finally got my chance to try out. I was good. I was REALLY good. There was murmurings of my even making lieutenant my first year out. I declared time and time again that I could not imagine not making it. Life would basically end if I didn’t make it. And guess what I did. I choked. Hard. So hard that when I saw the scoring afterwards I discovered the three directors who knew my skill ranked me first to offset the impartial judges dismal scores, but it still wasn’t enough. I tanked. I was out. And life went on. A lesson was learned.

12a. I made it the next year. And at tryouts I had the flu and was running a temperature over 100. I went in wanting it more than ever, but with a realistic view of how life did not hinge on making it. Again, lesson learned. Since then, I’ve known life goes on and I’ll land on my feet. Dreams can still be reached after failure.


13.  “Yay!” is one of absolute favorite words. Well… It is.

14. Write right! If you can’t write dollar amounts correctly, I will not buy from you. Type a message using shorthand that I have to decipher, I probably will ignore you. I literally get ANGRY at the bastardization of our written word. Like, physically feel my blood pressure rise.

15. There are three things I wear every day without fail. My watch. My wedding & engagement set. My Aggie ring

Categories: about-me Tags: , ,

2014 SPJST Car Show

May 5th, 2014 1 comment

A few of my favorite images from this last weekend’s car show in Seaton, Tx.

2014 SPJST Car Show

2014 SPJST Car Show

2014 SPJST Car Show

2014 SPJST Car Show

2014 SPJST Car Show

2014 SPJST Car Show

2014 SPJST Car Show

2014 SPJST Car Show

2014 SPJST Car Show

2014 SPJST Car Show

2014 SPJST Car Show

2014 SPJST Car Show

2014 SPJST Car Show

LOVE taking photos of old cars! It was a gorgeous day… HOT and dusty. I earned myself a nice sunburn (my first in over probably three to five years). My nephew took second place in his category for his car. And I got to spend some great time with family. All-in-all a fantastic experience.

Five on Friday: Reasons this weekend is going to ROCK

May 2nd, 2014 1 comment

FoF - Weekend


1. Czech Heritage Celebration!  My heritage is part Czech, and its a fact I am super proud of sharing. This Saturday is a Czech Heritage Celebration, and I’m actually in Texas and able to go! A bonus is the car show in which my brother and nephew are entering their Mustang. I’m headed out to take lots of pictures… of the car and all the fun!


2. 74th Annual Celebration of the Madisonville Sidewalk Cattlemen’s Association. I don’t know much about this other than the fact that my husband is playing at it and I get to go. And I’ll be selling merch at it! Should be far less stressful of a Saturday night than slinging beer… right?


3. I’m in Texas. Seriously. This alone is reason to say my weekend will ROCK.

30/47: Texas

4. Barbecue! I’m headed out this evening to take photos of my cousin’s family barbecue restaurant. Good Texas barbecue served family style. YUM YUM YUM.


5. Family time. We’re going to do an early Mother’s Day, and I get to see my niece and nephew play in their Spring Concert on Monday night. Family is always the BEST, and I feel so blessed to get to spend this time with them.



April 30th, 2014 1 comment

Growing up in Texas, we had tornado drills just as often as fire drills. If I remember right, it was three short bursts of the bell and we lined up, went into the hallway, and ducked against the walls covering our heads.

Being one of the tallest kids in class, I mostly remember it being a pain in the butt trying to crouch down as tight and low as my classmates. I don’t think it ever really set in with me the importance of those drills either… Because we had gotten lucky for years. My little hometown missing the bullet.

I remember many nervous nights at home, though, listening to the wind howl, watching the weather, lighting hurricane lamps. Even then, we we’re lucky. Time and time again, the tornados missing us.

Fall 1996, our first football game of the year, storms billowed and churned. We warmed up in the band hall, when someone broke in and told us to take cover. We huddled up again the only brick wall in that building. I remember holding hands and praying with my friends for safety and protection from the danger. I remember how eerie it was hours later, after the game was postponed and we all went home safe, that the skies parted and we ended up with the most brilliant sunset. We once again got lucky.

No one knew, though, that about 8 months later another small town would not fare so well. May 1997, 20 tornados touched down within less than two hours of my home. One was an EF-5 tornado that hit the town of Jarrell, Texas, killing 27 people — 11 of which were teens like me… 6 of those had been on the football team. I remember crying for the loss of those lives. It hit so very close to home.

There is no asking, “Why?” There is only, “How can I help?”

When I moved to Nashville, it seemed “tornado alley” followed me. April 2009, the “Good Friday tornado outbreak” occurred. My husband and I were in Texas for Easter, and we watched online as a large EF-4 tornado swept across Middle Tennessee… Only a few miles from our home. Once again, tears were shed, especially for the mother and her 9-week-old who were killed.

Moore, OK. Joplin, MO. The April 25-28, 2011 outbreak. This week I happened to be watching tv as Tupelo, MS took a direct hit. The footage out of Arkansas was staggering.

Every time tornado warnings come I wonder if this is the time I won’t be so lucky. Is this the time we will be facing starting over… assuming we get through it.

And yet, outside of trusting I know what to do — seek shelter, protect myself the best I can, pray — there is nothing I can do about it. I can’t stop the tornados. I can’t avoid them entirely. What will be, will be. And should that day come that “my luck runs out” I pray I have the strength to do what has to be done and the faith to keep going forward.

My prayers are with all the victims of these latest storms as well as those still living with the scars of past tragedies.

CNN has compiled a great list of ways we can all help victims of these massive storms.