Being an Aggie on the Anniversary of Bonfire

November 18th, 2013 2 comments

People give me a hard time now and then about being an Aggie, and its always in reference to football. Now, I’m fine with light-hearted ribbing from friends about football, but when anyone makes a dig about Texas A&M and Aggies in general, I bristle. Quickly. Because there is so very much more to being an Aggie than the football team.

On November 18, 1999, the world’s eyes turned to Texas A&M and for a moment… just a moment… the world got a glimpse of the Spirit of Aggieland. And they might not have understood, but they cared…

Bonfire Memorial

Instead of recounting anything from my point of view on Bonfire’s collapse that day and how I felt then and how I feel today about it, I want to share this blog post from an Aggie, written in 2009.

Before you click that, though, I want to highlight two parts of that post:

From the letter sent to A&M from the University of Texas Student Body VP following the tragedy… For all us Longhorns discount A&M in our neverending rivalry, we need to realize one thing. Aggieland is a special place, with special people. It is infinitely better equipped than us at dealing with a tragedy such as this for one simple reason. It is a family. It is a family that cares for its own, a family that reaches out, a family that is unified in the face of adversity; a family that moved this Longhorn to tears.

Aggies are a family. And that’s why it upsets me when I hear people slamming Johnny Manziel. I’ve never met him. I probably never will. But I don’t care. He’s an Aggie. And in that, he’s family that I find myself defending time and time again.  Now keep in mind, like family, we’ll be the first to chastise a member. Case in point, when Von Miller had his legal woes this year, I felt deeply disappointed, and I watched on Twitter as Aggie after Aggie voiced similar disappointment and frustration. Some declaring they would no longer consider themselves a fan of his. We might be the first to defend, but we are also some of the first to shake our fingers at our fellow Aggies when they do wrong.

It’s also why our hearts break and you’ll see us all cry when we lose an Aggie family member… even one we don’t know personally. Bonfire was particularly devastating. It happened on campus. It was/is a cherished school tradition. These were 12 young lives cut short, and many more left injured. Our hearts broke collectively.

But in every time of trial and heartache, we pull together and are reminded we’re family. And that… THAT… is something so special it can’t be accurately described in words.

The second part I want to highlight: …the Longhorn band’s tribute was one of the classiest and moving tributes I have seen. Maybe their response to our tragedy is the reason that, even though they are our rivals, I still have such respect for the school as a whole…


Alumni get it. I, too, have a deep down respect for the University of Texas and its alumni members. There are your bad seeds, sure. There are at Texas A&M, too. (Hey, every family has its members you go, “Yeah we don’t talk about him much…” LOL!) But on a whole, you’ll find major respect between alumni members of the two schools. I recently had a lighthearted and delightful banter with a Longhorn at work that left me with a spring in my step.

In fact, you’ll find respect between members of alumni of MOST major universities. I’ve encountered the same respect working with alumni of SEC and ACC schools.

T-shirt fans, though… those are the ones that will throw out the asinine comments I refer to in my opening of this blog post. My most recent bristle being, “So how do you wear that [Texas A&M] ball cap without getting smacked!?”


I wear it with pride for SO MANY reasons… reasons that are deep in my heart. Reasons the person asking that question could never in a million years understand… not that they’d ever care to really listen in the first place. And those reasons are the ones that are why at 2:42 am on November 18th, I stop and take a moment to remember.  Those reasons are why I put my heart of soul into Aggie Muster every year. Those are the reasons why I wear my Aggie ring with pride every single day, and why I make sure to speak to Aggies when I cross paths with them.

Roll your eyes if you want. I don’t care. But I am an Aggie and I’m proud of that fact. Now go read that blog post and hear about what makes this day stand out every November from yet another Aggie.

Categories: tamu, texas a&m Tags: , ,

A cynical Sunday post aka don’t piss off the bartender

November 17th, 2013 1 comment

I have next Saturday off from the bar, and I’m kinda glad. I think I need a break for a few days from bar patrons.

Shot glasses

Really and truly, I love bartending. Its fast-paced and I enjoy it. More than that, I think I’m pretty good at it. And I enjoy most of the people I interact with at the bar. I’ve met many delightful souls from, literally, around the world that I feel I’m a richer person for having met… however briefly.


Then you have the people you want to smack, the people who take all the joy and goodness out of the job.

So, let me throw out some suggestions on how NOT to be in that last group for a bartender.

326: New bottle opener

1. Don’t just shout your order out when you see a bartender in the area. Wait until we acknowledge you. Why? Because chances are we already have one to three orders in our head that we’re trying to make happen. And those orders can be complicated. I mean, would you like to be trying to remember a margarita no salt, Titos and soda with lemon, Crown and ginger, Jack and diet tall, three shots of Fireball, a Miller Light, Bud Light and two Coors Lights only to have someone shout, “HEY CAN I GET FIVE MILLER LIGHTS!?” Do you know how that messes up our heads!? Do you know how that realllllly pisses us off and puts you at the bottom of our lists of people to serve. DON’T DO IT.

2. By the way, no bartenders’ name is “Hey.” And if it is by some weird chance their name, that bartender is probably in the process of filing the paperwork to have it changed.

3. This one is super simple. OKay? Put your chair back in its place when you leave. No really! Just put it back. Or push the barstool back up to the bar. It’s SO SIMPLE and yet it can seriously make a difference in our moods. I literally kicked two chairs last night after someone left them pulled out and askew right after I’d just finally got the table back in place. Three seconds to push the chairs back in and I wouldn’t have been cursing humanity. At least for a second.

 Conservatory Bar

4. If you spill a drink or drop a bottle or glass on the floor and it breaks, just come tell us! We aren’t going to judge you for it. (Or, okay, we might for two seconds. lol) But if its busy, we might not know it happened and next thing we know (worst case scenario) we are dealing with a woman in open toe shoes bleeding because of a broken glass on the floor. I am dead serious when I say that we will thank you for telling us.

5. Don’t bring in your own liquor. I know we’re all trying to save money, but that’s just being rude to the establishment. (Not to mention could get the bar in trouble with the liquor board.) You don’t bring McDonald’s in to Chilis. Don’t bring in airplane bottles of liquor to a bar.

 229: For a potion

6. All bars and restaurants have their own policies on breaks, etc. But for me, when I work a Saturday night, I rarely –VERY RARELY — even take a pee break. Yup. I will go from 7:30 pm until after 3 am without a pee break. (Thank the college years for my having an iron bladder. I’ll probably pay for this down the road.) So when I take five minutes to eat a small bag of chips because I am literally getting light headed because I am so hungry, please don’t stare at me with disdain and then be rude to me because you have to wait a moment for a beer. I’ll be there as fast as I can, but I NEED to eat. I’m only human. Try to understand. Please.

7. Don’t order one drink at a time and expect me to run back and forth over and over again. One, its going to take over twice as long to get your order. Second, you’re just pissing me off. Order it all at once and lets get this done. Remember that first gripe? Every time I run to get a drink I have six other people going, “HEY CAN I GET…!??” and the longer it takes for me to move on… all THOSE people are getting pissed at ME, which just pisses me off at you even MORE. Be a courteous patron and trust me to handle your whole order at once.

8. When a bartender asks you, “What name is your tab under?” DON’T go, “Joe.” or “Dave.” or “Jenny.” Your LAST NAME is what its under. Do you know how many Brians, Steves, Joes, Daves, Jennys and Ashleys are in this bar!? Really? Don’t make us ask your last name. Just tell us.

329: Bar recipes

9. Don’t go drink like a fish elsewhere, leave “fine,” then go to another bar. One, we inadvertently “over serve” you with one beer, because we don’t know you’ve just had half a bottle of Jack ten minutes ago.  Two, we end up having to clean up your puke. And nothing pisses off a bartender like puke.  Well, except maybe if you have an accident going home and we get in trouble for being the last person to serve you and have to pay some huge fine or lose our license over ONE stinkin’ beer. Then we’re REALLY pissed off on top of being broke.

10. “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!” Does not mean to hang out another hour. It means finish your drink and get out. And when I come take your beer and say, “We’re done! Gotta take ‘em up!” its not because I am being mean, its because BY LAW I have to do it and you were given plenty of notice that we were closing up. Look… when your work day ends you want to go home, right? Well, when we close, we want to go home, too. And keep in mind, when we “close” we’re still there at least another hour cleaning and counting money, etc.  But the longer you “hang out” the later it is for us to be able to do parts of our closing duties. Please, please, please just pack it up and GO HOME.

119: Daylight Savings Time

11. Don’t tell us to smile. Don’t tell us to wake-up. Don’t tell a really obvious joke that you think is brilliant, because we’ve PROBABLY heard it a million times already. We’re trying to be on our game, but chances are we’ve dealt with people breaking the last 10 tips that we’re now hating humanity but are trying not to take it out on anyone else. Smile at us. Talk nicely. Maybe sincerely ask how we are. Perhaps a nice compliment like, “Hey, thanks for being here to take care of us tonight!” And guess what… you’ll get that smile naturally. And we’ll be reminded of those souls we genuinely love to meet… and you’ll be in THAT list.

12. TIP. Tip your bartender! (Duh.)  I always say bartenders clearly and consistently remember two types of people. Good tippers and jerks. DON’T be in that last group.

So there you go… a few tips to not being that person who leaves me (and other bartenders) in a bad mood on a Saturday night.

Categories: bartending Tags: , ,

[Booksneeze] — Encouragement for Today

November 16th, 2013 1 comment

encouragementSome days it feels like there is nothing but bad news, everywhere you turn. Health insurance frustrations, devastation in the Philippines, murders, robberies, couples you thought were strong are getting divorced, friends are hurt in a bad car accident, there’s another child diagnosed with cancer… it goes on and on. It gets hard to be optimistic, and we could all use a little encouragement.

I requested to read and review Encouragement for Today: devotions for every day living by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst, Samantha Evilsizer and the Proverbs 31 Team, hoping I’d get that encouragement that helps keep me my usual optimistic self.

This book is, for me, sheer perfection.

First off, my attention span reading these days is minute. This book is broken down into 100 “chapters,” each ranging from two to three pages long. That’s it! It’s a quick easy read here and there, giving me that boost I want without committing myself to a long periods of time reading..

Second, each chapter follows a consistent “formula.” It starts with a story that ends with a short prayer based on the focus of the story. It then challenges the reader to remember, reflect and respond, making each chapter something of a workbook for the soul.

Third, it’s a healthy dose of faith without being overbearing. It reminds you God’s got your back without preaching in an in your face approach. And that’s just the way I like it. Strong in its faith messages without being, well, a bully.

The topics covered in this book are wide ranging, and I can see this book ending up tattered and worn through the years and I turn it time and time again for a little bit of encouragement. Check it out sometime… perhaps make it a stocking stuffer this Christmas for someone you think might need a little boost here and there. They will thank you for it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through theBookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Five on Friday: Notes from the week

November 15th, 2013 1 comment

1. Had another great Road Widows meet up on Monday night. Back down to the first three ladies, but that’s okay! It was low-key but still an amazing couple hours of therapy as we go into the winter months when things slow down a little bit. (Or at least it usually does…)

2. I cracked a temporary crown. Okay, it broke. In half. And its right up front. My right canine tooth to be specific. Thankfully I already have an appointment to get the permanent crown next week. Unfortunately its NEXT WEEK, which  means my temporary fix on the temporary crown has to last about six days longer than the temporary dental cement says it should last. Can we say babying it and obsessively checking to make sure the fix is holding? Because that’s pretty much my life right now. And its left me in a certain level of depression, because I just can’t be myself right now. It’s difficult to talk right (you don’t realize how often your tongue hits the back of your front teeth until you can’t do that!) and eating has become very creative. I’m just kinda withdrawn right now due to it, and I apologize to everyone I deal with that notices. I’ll be back to normal in about a week!

3. I got to do a photoshoot of a beautiful family on Sunday. I finished editing them last night, and I am so in love with this family and these photos. I’ve also been seeing more and more of my photos popping up on the Facebook pages of people I’ve done photoshoots for and it just makes me so excited and giddy and happy and excited and… I said that twice to make the point. SO excited about where my photography is going! MUST get my professional website up PRONTO. Oh, and this was where we did the photos on Sunday…



4. I’m fighting this push to rush Christmas. I don’t want to lose sight of Thanksgiving! But I did get a smile when I got my first Red Cup at Starbucks yesterday, and I might have been looking at Pinterest for decorating ideas to do something different this year.

5. I’ve been enjoying this phase on Facebook of people getting a number and having to share that number of facts about themselves. I’m not commenting or liking lest I get a number and HAVE to play. But I’m enjoying learning more about my friends a LOT.

#DrinkUpLinkUp — Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack

November 14th, 2013 1 comment

I’ve been raving over a new find in the liquor store lately. Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack.

Now, Winter Jack is not as new as it may seem. It launched last year in New Hampshire, and let me tell you those New Hampshirians (New Hampshirites?) are some lucky people. They got the jump on all the rest of us.

This stuff is DANGEROUS because it is SO GOOD.

Jack Daniels Winter Jack

A step away from their usual black label, Jack Daniels goes into winter snowy white with this Tennessee Cider… perfectly made for a night by the fire while the wind howls outside.

At 30 Proof, this Tennessee Cider goes down easy with no need for any sort of mixer or chaser. It’s meant to be enjoyed hot, straight up, in your favorite coffee mug. I have had it in a hot toddy, though, while I had a cold recently. I mixed it in my cinnamon tea with some honey… oh my word. It took that hot toddy to a whole new amazing level.

But seriously, no need to mix it. Just sip it hot out of a coffee mug to warm up on a cold night. It’s more apple cider and cinnamon flavor than Jack Daniels, though you do get that classic woody, smokey taste on the back end of every sip.

This will make a great gift at Christmas or bring it to Thanksgiving dinner. Or better yet, just go grab a bottle to enjoy any night of the week!  But do it quickly, because this goody will only be available until February and only in the following states: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.



* Opinions here are all mine. I’ve not been paid in any way, shape, or form for said opinion. Just love sharing good new booze with the world. LOL! ;)

Categories: drinkuplinkup Tags: ,

Yesterday was #birthday33

November 11th, 2013 2 comments

So, yesterday I turned 33. Since I consider 3 my lucky number, I’m going to say 33 will be my most lucky year. How’s that sound to everyone?

The day started a little bumpy, simply due to trying to figure out when my husband would be in off the road, and within that when I would get to sleep. I ended up getting 3 hours of sleep before doing a photoshoot that just made for a wonderful way to spend the day.

Over the last few years, especially since I started bartending and even more since we moved so close to downtown Nashville, I’ve become more and more extroverted. I still think I’m an introvert at heart, but I find myself craving and enjoying the company of others more than ever before these days. So to spend the day with my husband taking photos of a beautiful family and then having dinner with friends (and being sung to for the first time in a restaurant!) just made for a fantastic way to spend my birthday. I’m so thankful for how it all went, and I sit here feeling very content.

Birthday fun at the hibachi

Birthday fun at the hibachi

Four of the last five years, I’ve done a “Project 365″ starting on my birthday. It’s a fun way to advance my photography skills, but also to look back over the last year of life.

With how much I am now photographing professionally, I’m going to take a P365 break for this year. I “phoned it in” much of the last year anyway, so I think I need to give that little project a break. Nonetheless… click here for a little look back at the last year of my life in photos.

 365: Cookie Cake

Categories: birthday Tags: , ,