Circuit Blast is Not a Blast

I joined the local YMCA a few months back and have been lightly salting my schedule with yoga classes.  The classes have ranged in level of difficulty, but none was more than I can handle.

Last evening, I decided to add a “circuit blast” class to my rigorous exercise routine as it promised an hour of cardio, weight-lifting, and “limited to no choreography.”  Perfect.  The last bit of the description really sealed the deal.  To understand why, please visit my “about me” page.   I got to the gym a little bit early so I hopped on the treadmill for 5 minutes at a fairly good clip to get my heart-rate up since all this bone-chilling weather makes me want to do is swaddle myself in blankets on the sofa. I was feeling nice and warm when it was time for the class to start.  I got my mat, my step, and my 3 sets of weights all set up.  I was ready to kill it.  There were people my age and people twice my age in the class so I imagined I would at least fall somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of fitness.

Well, we started off with a lot of cardio that required more coordination than I could muster.  But that was ok; I flailed my way through it.  After all, I wasn’t trying out for a dance competition.  Clearly.  About 15 minutes in, I had about reached my limit of kicking, punching, jumping, hopping on one foot and balancing at the same time.   Then we started with the weights.

I started to feel faint.  My ears were ringing, my face was hot but my sweat felt cold.

I plowed through 478 squats with weights.  My yoga breathing really helped with this.  I was audibly huffing and puffing.  Too bad my breathing skills don’t help with coordination.

Towards the end of the class, I had to do every other exercise so I didn’t pass out.  It was a serious concern.  Every lunge-jump from the floor to the step while swinging weights over my head was a struggle.  It seemed my two poached eggs on toast that I had for lunch had ditched me hours ago and I was running on fumes and electrolyte and fluoride-infused water that I had purchased just before class.

With 10 minutes left in the class, I was genuinely concerned that I might lose consciousness.  I put away my torture equipment and headed to the locker room to collect myself and splash water on my face.  I looked as white as a ghost.  Time to call it a day.  I walked over to the stairs and as I started down the first step my leg almost gave out.  I clutched the railing to save any dignity that wasn’t left behind in my class.  Each step was a near-death-experience.  I somehow managed to get to the bottom of the stairs using mostly my arms and feeling like Gumby.

As I got to the car, I was fiercely craving salt.  I guess I hadn’t realized how hungry I was.  Continuing my healthy choices for the day, I came home and ate some cheddar and sour cream Ruffles potato chips and felt markedly better.  And my legs were sore already.

This is not good.

I’m afraid to go back.

But I need to face my fears.

I just need a few more handfuls of chips first.

Y’all stay active,

Sugarlump

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Hi, I’m Awkward.

I would like to start out by saying that I manage to function fairly well in society.  For the most part.  And then there are evenings like the one the day after Christmas that one might liken to an electrical short.

The night was off to a good start when my immediate family and my aunt, uncle and cousins agreed to meet up at the local Mexican joint in Burkesville called El Rey.  This happens to be one of my favorite Mexican spots, which might come as a surprise to most culinary connoisseurs considering the other dining choices in the one stoplight town are Subway, Annie Ruby’s, Jones Restaurant and Pizza Hut.   As far as I’m concerned, between my grandmothers’ cooking, Annie Ruby’s, and El Rey, my days would be full and bright.

I ordered a number 5 combo, which is two enchiladas any way you like ’em and what else but rice and beans.  I went for chicken with verde sauce.  Excellent choice if I do say so myself.  My cousin Lauren got fajitas with shrimp and beef that looked like everything you could ever hope for in something hot and sizzling, my sister ordered fajitas nachos, which I think is a genius concept, and my cousin Kristen got chicken, cheese, and rice, a dish that has recently won me over.  I couldn’t see far enough down the table to drool over whatever my parents, aunt and uncle ordered, but I’m sure all of their dishes didn’t disappoint.

I had nearly eaten a basket of warm tortilla chips all by myself when my food arrived.  I don’t know what came over me, but I couldn’t get enough of that salsa.  Though I’m sure I was beyond full at that point, I wolfed down my enchiladas as if I were being timed.  I’m usually among the slowest of eaters.  I can offer no explanation for why I continued to consume Mexican food as if my stomach were a bottomless pit.  I sat back, thoroughly satisfied when our waiter came by to ask if I was finished.  In what can only be described as a state of delirium induced by my bulging stomach, I responded, “I’m funnnyeah.”

I casually looked around the table to see if my cousins and sister had heard what I just said.  Indeed, they had.  They promptly started laughing hysterically as soon as the waiter had cleared my plate.  I think the sound that came out of my mouth was the unfortunate, bigamous marriage of “finished,” “done” and “yes.”  This was funny for the next few hours.  I’m always happy to provide entertainment with the meal.

After our Mexican feast, Eugene, Lauren and I went to Glasgow to see Anchorman II.  Now, every time I’ve ever been to this cinema, the approximately 50 seat theaters are about 1/7 full.  We were a few minutes late, but figured the previews would still be playing and we would have our choice of seats.  Wrong! We opened the door to the theater to find it packed full, with 2 open seats on the far left of the front row, which was approximately 4 feet behind the 25 foot screen.  This sent us into a fit of giggles as we shuffled to the front of the theater and I sat on the edge of Eugene’s seat with my head craned back so far that I was sure I would need a neck brace immediately following the movie.  Every minute for the first 5 minutes of this, one of us would get tickled over our movie-watching arrangement.  By the grace of God, not far into the movie, a few people in the far right front row of the theater decided seeing Anchorman II from 4 feet away wasn’t worth scoliosis and left. Instantly recognizing out moment of opportunity, Eugene, Lauren and I scurried across the front of the theater to the right side where we could each enjoy the movie from our own seat.  We were still so close that the screen was nearly out of focus, but I have to say, at such close range, every inch I could scoot back made a remarkable difference.  Due to our intimate range from the screen, however, there were times during the movie when it was unclear whether we were so close that the image was distorted or if the actors were truly making funny faces.

On the way home from the movie, Eugene and Lauren had a few more good laughs over my mangled attempt at English from dinner.  Miraculously, I had full range of motion in my neck the following morning.

I’m funnnyeah.

Bye,

Sugarlump

Gold Mine

I recently made a trip up to Boston to help my parents clean out closets and storage spaces that contain the relics of my childhood.  In an effort to purge the no longer needed, my parents nominated me to make the call on what was too precious and dear to part with and what needed to find a new home in a hurry.

The major area that needed addressing was my sister’s and my old playroom that had become a resting place for furniture no longer allowed in the main part of the house.

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Things only got worse before they got better.

But, boy, did they get good.

I found some real treasures among 3 carloads, 2 truckloads, and dozens of 55 gallon trash bags by the curb of rejected items.

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This here is one of the Hanson brothers, also known as my little sister Eugene.

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I found an entire box of cards that my sister’s classmates had made her when she had her tonsils removed in the first or second grade.  By the volume of cards and the concern in her classmates’ scribbles, you would have thought she was having high-risk, open-heart surgery.  She had many a reminder to eat popsicles, which had some very creative spellings.  My favorite though, was this card from a young man who I deduce was named Harrison.  He seemed to have some top secret information for Eugene on the inside of the card as she was to “plees opon alone.”

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I found my Chapel signs from my senior year of high school.  Man were those a trip.

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This is me in 8th grade with my kindergarten buddy.  I think she’s applying to colleges now.  I feel old.

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Hard to believe since it was just yesterday that I was sporting pig tails and cat appliques.

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Who remembers Lisa Frank?! I used to love to buy this stuff at the school store in elementary school!

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I was unsure about this creature that belonged to Eugene.  I sent her this picture to inquire about its nature.

Me: “What is this here creature?”

Eugene: “A horse in a kimono, naturally.”

Right.  He was for sure a keeper.

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Cards congratulating my parents on my birth.  I’m not sure if it was a common thing to say back then (let’s hope), but a lot of the cards said, “take good care of her,” as if my parents were questionable guardians.   This kind of made me laugh/worry.

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This is a realtor packet from 1992 when my parents sold their first home in Maryland, where Eugene and I were born.

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Apparently I took interest in homes and real estate at a young age as it appears I added my own notes to the list of house features.

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I had a lot to add.

And that was only day one.

Y’all be good,

Sugarlump

 

 

Hair Dying

Though I am five at heart, I’m apparently forty to fifty on the head.

Not in the head, but on the head.

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I’ve had the good fortune of gray hair since high school.  I take this as a sign that I’m wise beyond my years because I am trying to find anything positive about this situation.

As some of you wise-haired people know, these gray hair situations are pricey to conceal.  I usually leave the hair dying to professionals but that has gotten expensive and necessary more frequently than I’d like and my friend Jessica assured me it was a cinch to do at home.  I decided to take the plunge and let her help me dye my hair.  And by help me, I mean do it for me in exchange for dinner.  I was on my own, however, for the trip to Sally’s beauty supply.

My natural hair color is a very dark brown, even though my granny calls me her “black-headed” child.  I typically like to dye my hair (have my hair dyed by a professional) a tad darker and throw in some violet undertones.  It really brings out the green in my eyes and the ghost-like quality of my skin.

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I was intrigued by this set of colors.  They might make me look more tan than the violet, but that’s probably about all they would do for me.

After I had some fun envisioning myself with radically different looks, I started to hunt the blue-violet among the 350,000 options.  Now blue-violet is not a wildly popular color so I had to ask for assistance in finding it.  Turns out there were just two options.  The lovely helper explained to me the difference:

“Well this is good if you have grays but you’re so yo…(spots the alarming amount of grays on my twenty-five-year -old head)…you have some grays so you should get this one.”

Nice save.

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I headed home with my youth in a box as well as a handy little kit of supplies and Jessica got to work mixing up the pigment with the stuff that makes it stick to your hair.  Binder?  Extender?  Developer? Tar? Something like that.

And then came the comment from Jessica that puts every woman who’s about to dye her hair at ease:  ”I’ve never seen it look this color in the bottle before…”

Follow shortly by: “For the record, I didn’t pick the color.”

Excellent.  I decided to focus on prepping myself for my transformation instead of the helpful commentary.

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Having donned my high-end “cape,” I was feeling a little warm.

E: “It’s hot in here.”

J: “Well you’re wearing a garbage bag.”

The whole point of this DIY hair color is to save money.  Maybe next time I’ll roll the $2.99 into my 401K and just use a lawn-size trash bag.

I sat on the toilet and Jessica got to work processing my hair.  Though my bathroom is fairly generous in size, the fumes from the hair dye were so strong that it might serve as an alternative to general anesthesia.  Even with the fan on and the door open, Jessica and I barely maintained consciousness throughout the process.

Jessica finished putting the dye on my hair and we cleaned up my skin around my hairline because after stepping back and looking at my neck, Jessica said, “You look like you’ve been beaten.”

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I highly recommend this thoroughly enjoyable experience.

We let my hair “process” on my head for a while and then it was time for the moment of truth after I washed the color out of my hair.  If you’ve ever washed violet hair dye out of your hair in a white shower and watched the show Dexter, this might be a very disturbing experience as you might think you’ve been shot.  And having just awoken from my hair-dye-induced coma that is a highly plausible situation for all you know.

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I made it out alive and my hair color looked pretty good.  Jessica will remain in good standing; however, I don’t think I can go through that experience every 4-6 weeks.

Maybe I should go blonde.

Or gray.

Y’all be careful,

Sugarlump

I’m baaaaaaaaaaack!

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Miss me?

Well, I missed you all, internet friends!

Sorry for not posting for, like, ever.  In the past few months I’ve moved, changed jobs, learned how to dye my hair myself, had a lot of family and friends visiting, discovered a new breakfast delight, replaced the brakes on my car and it’s been just crazy.

Just a little recap:

I’m Emily

I’m five.

Plus twenty.

But really I’m five at heart.

And stomach.

(what?)

A short time ago, I decided to start eating cereal again.  I had given it up on my gluten-free kick but decided that gluten was not my enemy, but that, in fact, diary is.  Unfortunate for a girl who grew up drinking milk almost exclusively, would choose cheese over almost anything (love me some savory), and thinks sour cream is a good addition to almost everything.  Except cereal.

Anyway, I was perusing the cereal aisle (I always forget that word has an A in it – thank you spell check!) at Kroger in search of a long lost childhood favorite, Berry Berry Kix. This was the closest I came to “sugary” cereal as a child and it holds a dear place in my heart, unlike Raisin Bran and Chex.  I would savor the opportunity to eat Lucky Charms or Trix when sleeping over friends’ houses, but I don’t recall ever being granted permission to put any of these delicacies into the shopping cart during my formative years.

Eager to hug a box of Berry Berry Kix, I searched up and down the aisle (I remembered the A this time!) probably 13-17 times, convinced I had somehow missed it among the hundreds of cereals.  I could picture the box as clear as day.  Purple.  An image of the cereal, mostly regular kix with bunches of “berries” scattered throughout in purple and maroon.  To my horror, it appeared that Berry Berry Kix had been taken off the market.  It was a sad moment.

Until I came across a new specimen of cereal: Oops! All Berries.

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Let me assure you, this was no oops.

Some brilliant mind took the best part of the cereal from Captain Crunch, which tastes much like the berries in Berry Berry Kix because, after all, they’re all berries (well, “berries”), and made a cereal out of them. Genius! I can’t tell you how many times I used to eat all of the regular kix out of Berry Berry kix, saving the berries for last.  I did the same with lucky charms, leaving all of the marshmallows for a few bites of pure sugary heaven.  Someone should invent Oops! All Charms because, let’s be honest, who likes those funky, somewhat sweet cheerio-ish things in Lucky Charms anyway?

No one.

The plain kix weren’t as bad, but this new cereal requires much less legwork with my spoon at 7:30 AM and provides a much more satisfying breakfast experience as each bite is just as enjoyable and indulgent as the last.

My life is forever changed.

There are, however, a few side effects: acute ADD and hunger in less than an hour.

And I think my teeth are going to rot and fall out of my mouth.

I have dreams that my teeth fall out all of the time.  It’s horrifying.

My Mom might have been on to something with that whole” no sugary cereal” bit.

I want some cheese.

I think eating salt after sugar cancels it out, right?

Oh, how I’ve missed you all.

Y’all hurry back and I will, too,

Sugarlump

Here to Stay

Somehow, I have lived in Tennessee for a year.  How did that happen?

This past Saturday marked the anniversary of completely uncharacteristic move 1100 miles south.  In a way, it seems this year flew by, and yet living in Boston seems a long way back.  I didn’t know a soul when I moved here, but of course I received a warm welcome.  It is the south after all.

I’ve made many wonderful friends in the last 12 months.  I’ve gotten to see my grandparents and extended family more than ever.  I’ve discovered I like bluegrass.  I’ve put 17,000 miles on my car. I’ve experienced a tornado warning.  I’ve taken thousands of pictures of the sky.  I haven’t done yoga once.

Words like “you’re fine” and “y’all” have become fixtures in my vocabulary.  My style has become more eclectic and less preppy.   Though it would be a serious stretch to call me an extrovert, I’m more outgoing and chatty than I used to be.  I like to get out more.

I don’t have a TV in my room and I don’t miss it. I still haven’t bought bar stools so I don’t have a proper place to eat a meal.  I cook maybe once or twice a week.

I’ve decided I’m not over the city living as much as I thought. I’ve stopped drinking soda. I like dogs more than I used to.  I’ve been to the movie theater 3 times.  I’ve canned jam.

I’ve learned more about what’s important to me and what’s not.

It feels like home here.

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I think it’s time to take down this wreath.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

One Year Sweeter

Today is the one year anniversary of the Sugarlump, which means I have lived in Nashville for almost one year.  Man, does time fly.  I have a few reflections to share on this momentous day:

While I started this blog mainly to capture moments of my life that I never want to forget, it has proven to be so much more.  It eased me through the transition to my new home.  It has kept me connected to my family and friends who regularly read the Sugarlump and comment.  In turn, it assures them that I am alive and well.  Some of my extended family members and family friends have probably learned more about me through reading my blog this past year than they had learned about me in all the years they’ve known me combined.  Whether that’s good or bad, I don’t know.  I’m just putting it all out there.

Most surprisingly, The Sugarlump has connected me to new friends who I know only because they have found my blog or I have found theirs.  Who knew complete strangers would take the time to leave a kind note or helpful tips?  This blog regularly reassures me that this world is indeed full of good people.

This blog has given me the motivation to learn more about photography as it provides a great outlet through which to share the thousands of photographs I have taken since moving to Nashville.  I apologize to my readers who don’t care for cats or weather reporting.   I hope to get out more this summer.

Though I am generally journaling-averse, writing posts has been a kind of therapy for me.   It helps me to find joy in the little things as I reflect on my day.  It puts things into perspective.  It keeps me connected in a more meaningful way.  I never would have thought I’d call myself a blogger, but a blogger I have become.

And even though I have slacked off on the blogging as my life has become busier in Nashville, I hope to continue celebrating blog anniversaries.

Thanks to my faithful readers for all of your “likes” and comments.  You make my day.

Love y’all,

Sugarlump

Tax Avoidance (Not Evasion)

It’s funny how, when faced with doing your taxes, vacuuming the sofa and ironing your socks become wildly appealing activities.  Suddenly, tackling that oil painting for my living room that I’ve been putting off since I moved in 11 months ago seems very urgent.  Brushing the cats’ teeth and cleaning out that “catch-all” basket of receipts, screw-drivers, lotion samples, paperclips and nail polish is just too hard to resist.

Doing my taxes really isn’t all that bad.  Because I own a business, I have an accountant who sends me a really nice tax organizer that makes the experience as painless and straight-forward as possible.  Every year, after I complete the document to return to her, I remark on how surprisingly simple it was.  And every year, I put off doing my taxes because something about it makes me want to do just about anything else.  I can’t explain it.

Today, instead of doing my taxes, I’ve done 4 loads of laundry and 1 load of dishes.  I’ve vacuumed, changed the sheets on my bed, rearranged the furniture and cleaned out the refrigerator.  Then I happened to find myself at Homegoods where I purchased 2 mirrors that were not the size I needed, but I had to have them.  Consequently, I have spent the last hour re-hanging everything on the walls in my apartment to accommodate said purchases.

At least I will have a fresh environment in which to do my taxes…whenever that may be.

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Off to French-braid Scarlett’s fur.  Doesn’t she look excited.

Y’all be responsible,

Sugarlump

Shooting Range

I’m really getting into this recreational shooting thing.  The other day, I went to an indoor shooting range where we shot 9mm handguns.  The guy told me which particular type of gun I was shooting, but I promptly forgot because I don’t know anything about guns except that they are fun to shoot (safely).

I did, however, remember what I learned in class before we went out to the range:

1) Always keep the gun pointed towards the target in the range (and away from living beings).

2) Don’t load the gun until you’re ready to shoot.

3) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

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Once we got out into the range, we had to select a target.  We had our choice of pink or blue.  Naturally, I chose hot pink to make up for my tomboy years in middle school when I shopped exclusively in the boys’ department at the GAP and refused to acknowledge that pink existed.  The man running the place said the pink was actually easier to see.  I think he just wanted to see a bunch of guys shooting at hot pink targets.

I had never shot a handgun before so I needed a lot of prep on what the heck I was doing.  I finally got the gist of it but the gun kept jamming because I didn’t keep a firm enough grip on it after I pulled the trigger.  Towards the end, I had a death grip on that gun.  I was holding it so tight that my ring made a serious impression in my finger.

The hardest part was not wobbling with my breath.  Thank goodness I wasn’t hopped up on caffeine or I would have had no hope for hitting the target.

Turns out, I hit the target pretty well for a newbie.  I never got the X, but I got pretty darn close 49 times.

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I was so proud that I hung my target on the refrigerator.  Even grown-ups can display their accomplishments on the fridge.  I can’t wait to see the look on the cable guy’s face tomorrow when he comes to fix my cable (that has been broken since NEW YEAR’s EVE!).

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I was pretty pleased with myself.

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A few more rounds and I would have blown this guy’s (girl’s?) heart to smithereens.

I’m glad I tried the handgun indoors thing, but I think I prefer rifles.  I like being outside and having more distant targets.   Too bad I live in an apartment complex with 0 yard.   I need to make a trip back to Kentucky to go shoot on the farm.

Now, on to my next task with the slightly more difficult moving target: skeet shooting.

Y’all be careful,

Sugarlump

Inherited Mischief

I’ve recently taken an interest in target shooting.  Most people who know me find this surprising/troubling.  Not to worry, you skeptics, I only care to shoot inanimate objects.

Uncle Santa gave me, my sister and cousins each a box of shells and some targets for Christmas.  I think it’s one of my favorite gifts ever.  Maybe next year I’ll ask for a gun.  Watch out.

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I was so excited to go out shooting the day after Christmas, but the weather was most uncooperative.  A nice rotation of rain/sleet/snow carried on all day so my box of shells is still unopened.

Christmas night, as we were discussing our plans for the following day, Granny shared with us that she didn’t want her girls shooting guns.  My dad called her out on this immediately because she shot guns all the time growing up.  She said that didn’t matter; she still didn’t want us shooting guns.  My dad overruled her on a count of hypocrisy.

All four of us are also adults and can shoot a gun even if our Granny doesn’t want us to, but we didn’t dare bring that up.  We are and always will be her “babies” even though we’re no longer 2, 3, 5 and 7 like she thinks we are.

It’s no secret that my Granny was somewhat of a mischievous child.  Shooting guns was just the beginning.  We asked Granny to tell us some stories that night and it wasn’t long before we were all laughing so hard it hurt.  There were some really good ones that involved playing hooky.

We asked Granny what she did when she skipped school one day for an entire day.

Granny: “Well, we had never seen a trial.”

Family in unison: “You skipped school to go to the courthouse?!?!”

Granny: “Yes, and we sat there all day and there wasn’t even a trial so we just went back to school.”

After we all died laughing, we just sat there for a few minutes processing Granny’s rather unusual item on her bucket list that warranted skipping school.

The next story was even better.

One day in high school, several couples who were “courting” decided to leave school without permission.

Granny said, “Now, our principle was a mean old man and he stuttered. “

Upon being caught, the couples were ordered back to school.  They walked down the hall, past the principle, who had a habit of pulling up his britches when he was mad.

Granny stood up and hiked up her pants in the front using her forearms, imitating the principle.

We all just about lost it and waited for the punchline with the stutter.

Granny said, “He was so mad, he didn’t say a word.”

We all sat there for a minute and then questioned Granny as to what the fact that he stuttered had to do with the story if he never even said anything.

She just wanted us to know that about him, evidently.

That made us laugh even harder.

Granny always calls us the craziest bunch of young’ins.   I wonder where we got that from.

Y’all mind your Grannies,

Sugarlump