Monthly Archives: August 2010

I Forgot to Remember to Forget

It has been about nine months since we all lost Mary Lou, and yet I guess I haven’t fully dealt with her passing. I have always been the one to take the tough route focusing on my own needs last. During that tough time of her passing, I felt responsible to help keep the office together as well as my friends. Whether my presence was needed for this or not, this is what I’m compelled to do in a time of need. I tend to be a private emotion girl when crying is concerned, so during that entire time up until her funeral, I would lie in bed every night and cry. It can seem a bit pathetic; because why couldn’t I let my friends help me through this as I was helping them? It is a question I ask myself all the time, but something I don’t see changing for awhile. Why this sudden sad trip down memory lane? Well last night as lay in bed, I randomly began to think about that fiery woman and with that came the tears. I am definitely not dealing with it as I should, so today I thought I would put it in writing, deal with it my way.

Thinking back on it now, Mary Lou was probably the closest thing I could associate with a grandmother. My mom’s mother had passed away before I was born, and I was lucky enough to get some time with my dad’s mother and step-mother before they passed. My Grandma Knight is probably the one that I remember most clearly as she was extremely crafty and artistic. Her little apartment always had fabric, lace, and ribbon strewn about. I still covet many of dolls and animals that she made for me, but sadly our time was short.

Most of my memories of my Grandma Myers come from her nursing home. The few Christmases and summer vacations don’t leave to many memories, which are odd, because I have an abnormally good memory. She did venture up to see me one time for a Grandparents Day event for my school, which I believe was when I was in first or second grade. I can’t even remember the when of something that I was really important to me at the time. How sad is that? I was excited to finally have a grandparent present for the event, but I can’t remember any of the activities we did or her sitting with me at my desk. I remember her staying with us and the smell and the feel of her make-up case as I dragged my finger along the lid. That’s all I remember. Grandparents Day was always a day of discontent for me as I grew up and saw other children with their grandparents. I understood then as I do now, but you can’t help what ache you feel in your heart as you sit making macaroni necklaces and have no one to give it to. It was probably a couple of years after that she was place in the nursing home after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My mother wondered if I ever knew my real grandmother, because of the disease. I guess the sadder news is from the stories I’m told of her. I probably would have really gotten along with her. She had a heck of a humorous side and a voracious need to read, not unlike myself. I was still young when she passed, somewhere around the beginning of Junior High.

When I met Mary Lou, she was part of an overstuffed office that she shared with two other people, one of them being my boss at the time. Because I didn’t directly work with her, I just always thought she was a sweet dear. That was until she was quoted by fellow worker and friend. Let’s just say it was shocking…. funny, but shocking. For someone I didn’t know very well, I gained a large of amount of respect and admiration with one little line. When she was moved up to work with us in our sacred little island, we were in for the time of our life. I got to know the fearless, feisty, and ornery woman that was hidden by this dear sweet face of lady in her early seventies. I don’t think there was a person that came through our office that didn’t know Mary Lou. They would stop and talk with her at every moment.

She didn’t even lose her fire when she was faced with yet another battle with cancer. She would still throw her personality around. Probably one of our favorite memories of her is when she would get annoyed by an arrogant drug rep. I don’t think there’s one of us that worked with her that will forget her slamming her pen down on her desk and then shoving herself back in her chair to angrily look at us with exasperation and disbelief. The woman loved her American Idol and was determined to set me up Danny Gokey by either calling him or writing him a strong letter. This is making me laugh right now as I type this. For her birthday I decided to recycle a high school graduation gift one of my sisters gave me for Mary Lou. We were constantly aware of how much she liked the male form, so I thought I should give her a man for her birthday. It was a cardboard constructed man that I had been given and thought it should be passed on. She thought it was a riot!

The day I found out she was a huge Elvis fan, I couldn’t love her more. I let her borrow a horror comedy called Bubba Ho-Tep that was about Elvis in a nursing home fighting a mummy. Normally, this would not be the typical item to give a lady at her age, but she loved it as I knew she would. The time came when she was planning a trip with her family to Graceland. She was very excited about this, because she had never been. We were all for encouraging her Elvis love and even taped up a life size Elvis for her right before she left. When I found out the story of her personal Elvis collection or rather the destruction of it, I quickly ran out and bought her a hits album, because all she had was a gospel collection. I told her that the gospel collection was beautiful and should go along for the ride, but she couldn’t go to Graceland without Jailhouse Rock.

Somewhere during this time I began to wonder if this was what having a grandmother was like. I’m not going to say that she was the grandmother I never knew and always wanted, but she was the closest thing I had to one during the time I was blessed enough to know her. The day her impending loss to cancer was confirmed will never leave my mind. We were all aware that she was losing more causalities on her side of her battle than the cancer was. I’m not going to go into any more detail than that out of respect, because she was a very proud woman and did not want anyone to know more of her troubles than was necessary. But the day she found out she was going to lose…….. I was holding the fort that day, and she asked me if she could go home early. We were the ones that always talked her into to going home, because she feared she would leave us stranded. When she asked, it was serious, but the look in her eye is something I’ll never forget. I didn’t know at the time, but that was the last time I would see her. About a week afterwards, Mary Lou passed. I still try to beat myself up for chickening out and not visiting her. A part of me knows she’s not upset, because she did not want to be remembered that way. I just haven’t gotten over my personal guilt.

I handled her viewing well. I fought back a few tears throughout it. We shared our memories with other friends and family and watched slideshow of her life. Miss Mary Lou was a little Audrey Hepburn in her day. There were pictures from her trip to Graceland that I had yet to see, but one stuck out. It was her signing the wall of Graceland along with others that made me smile, only to find out that the message she left for the King was “See you soon.” The funeral was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in a long time. This was also the first funeral I have been to since I was a kid. I’m here to tell you that I miss the naivety of being a child during one. I was somewhat composed until her son started to sing for her, then most of what I tried to keep pent up broke through. The trip to the cemetery was much more of a blur than I realized at the time. We ended out night with a much needed gathering of just us girls, with a bit of alcohol mixed in. It had been a long rough day for everyone, and we just needed some comfort and each other. We weren’t as prepared as we thought for the next day at work, seeing her empty desk and knowing she wasn’t coming back.

Not long before I left Indiana, I decided that I wanted to visit her grave and say goodbye. I bought some roses I thought she might have liked and went to the cemetery. After two frustrating hours of my mother and I scouring the head stones, I was unable to find her. Regardless of what I thought I remembered of the funeral, I guess I was physically there, but my heart decided to carry the burden of both it and my mind. When I got home, I lay the flowers at the base of my crabapple tree and said my goodbyes and apologized that I couldn’t find her, but I would the next time I came back to Indiana.

I apologize for my somber mood throughout this, but I feel better having written it. I’m sure a thought or two about Mary Lou will still hit me just right, and I’ll probably tear up again, but maybe it will be less next time. She was a wonderful woman and now a memory I’ll keep close to my heart. For the girls back home at AHN that still get questions about where she is, just tell them she’s dancing with Elvis.

I’ve never won blogging awards before :-)

How awesome is this?! Emily over at Family and Life in Las Vegas has awarded me with some awards 🙂

How vonderbar!You are to tell 7 things about yourself, but much like Emily, I hate odd numbers (ocd thing possibly?) So you get 6.

1. I love my dogs. If something happened to them, I may not make it through.
2. I am currently studying for my A+ computer certification. I try and make it through at least 3 chapters a day on the book I am using. I wanted to take it before I started school back up, but they didn't have any openings the Friday before. So I am taking it the week school starts on a Tuesday.
3. I discovered yesterday as I was conditioning my hair, that I am officially out of the TWA (teenie weenie afro) stage and into the medium afro stage. YAY ME!
4. COMPLETE. PRODUCT. JUNKIE.
5. I love clothes, makeup, and fashion...but I love a bargain even more.
6. I have lost 14 lbs in the past couple of weeks. I AM WELL ON MY WAY!! YAY!!!

Now, I must pass these awards to a couple of other people:

1. Black Girl with Long Hair - I enjoy her informative interviews with people as well as her thought provoking "what do you think?" articles

2. Fab Finds Under $50 - She is an Indiana girl like me, she has impeccible taste in fashion, and she loves a bargain as well

3. Beauty and the Bitch - They are just good clean snarky fun!

4. Mommy Loves Stilettos - She is honest, in your face, and unapologetic about it. I like her.. a lot.

Welcome Wednesday- Product Edition


If you want to be a part of Welcome Wednesday, just follow these 5 simple steps:

1. Follow the Welcome Wednesday Host (Take It From Me)as well as the 2 Spotlighted Blogs of the Week. (These will make up the top three slots on the Linky)
2. Link up your blog name and URL with our Linky. (You only need to add your info once for it to be seen on all the blog hops)
3. Grab our Welcome Wednesday button and include it in a post about the event on your blog.
4. Go to as many blogs on the MckLinky as you want and Follow them. Be sure to tell them you are from Welcome Wednesday!
5. Be sure to Follow back any followers you have gained from our Welcome Wednesday event!



In my most recent blog post I told you about purchasing products and helping out a great cause. Well because I have been swimming, my hair hasn't been feeling the greatest. My husband doesn't notice a difference when he touches it, but I do. I decided to try out some of the products That Shonika and Rashida sent me, to see if it would help the situation.

The two I used in this instance are Darcy's Botanicals Vanilla Delight Leave-in Condtioner and Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive heavy cream.
Using both of these my hair feels exactly like it did before I took up swimming. My hair is soft and managable. Before their fundraiser ends in November, I will probably purchase a few more samples of both so that I don't run out too fast. After that it looks like I will be purchasing the full price stuff. 

Thanks Shonika and Rashida for getting me interested in new products! 

Hair products and Helping with Leukemia and Lymphoma

Well, that is an odd title isn't it? I mean, even for me it seems a little out of place doesn't it? Normally you would be right, but today that is not the case. On Twitter (or The Twittah as I refer to it) I follow the trend #naturalhair.
That is where I met some of my readers and I also read interesting things that people are doing to their natural hair.
One day there was a post about getting sample sizes of products inexpensively. I contacted the person and they explained to me what was going on.

Shonika Griffin and her twin sister Rashida make up the team PB&J for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They chose the unique way of selling product samples to raise money for their cause. I immediately ordered. 11 years ago I had an incredibly close friend pass away from Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I was 17. She was 19. I know how devastating these diseases can be and was eager to help their cause.

In that vein, I wanted to do an interview with Shonika. This was a unique fundraiser, and the way she was getting attention to her cause was unique as well. She agreed to answer the questions that I e-mailed to her.

1. Why did you pick this charity? 

We chose the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) for a few reasons


a. There was a bone marrow drive held in 2009 in the city (NYC) for a little 6 year old girl named Jasmina Anema. She was one of the only African-Americans that we had ever heard of having Leukemia. When she passed in January 2010, it really struck a chord with us.

b. We were on a mission to get healthy. We started running, but didn't really know anything about form, stretching, clothing, etc. LLS had a program called Team In Training that helped train people for endurance events. We thought that was great! We could get more fit and also run for a reason. So we signed up to run our first half marathon (13.1 miles)

We are running in honor of 5 beautiful ladies, including Jasmina

> 2. I think it is a great idea selling the sample sizes of the hair products. It gives us product junkies a chance to try out different things without breaking the bank. How did this idea come along?

 Now there are so many different products out there for us natural haired Divas. But even a sample size can run you as much as $6.00 and that's not including taxes and S&H. Who wants to decide between eating or buying one 2oz sample size? We thought this would give people a chance to sample a few different products without breaking the bank. With that same $6.00 you can get as many as 6 different products with us. And it all benefits a wonderful cause!

> 3.

 Who is (or are if they're multiples) your partner in helping you? How did you guys meet up? 


My partner is my twin sister, Rashida. She's my best friend. I didn't think it was possible, but training for this event together has brought us even more closer. When one of us feels like giving up, the other is right there to lift you up. It's a beautiful thing to have someone who is just as passionate and competitive as you are!! We always stick together (hence our nickname Team PB&J)
> 4.

 Do you have a website I can send people to? One where they can either donate or sign up for products that they would like? 


To make a donation, please visit our fundraising websites. Mine is www.tinyurl.com/shonikasanfran. My sister's is www.tinyurl.com/rashidasanfran. To order products, simply email us at shonikagriffin@optonline.net or rashidalgriffin@yahoo.com


You guys, this is a great cause. It is also a great way to try different products without having to shell out a ton of money. I hope that you guys will give Shonika and Rashida a ring....or an email.. You know what I mean. 
Tell them Leslie sent you. 🙂

Social Parade!

Smart and Trendy Moms

I am always trying to find ways to meet new people via my blog and gain readership. So I have decided to do the social parade!

I am getting the kitchen cleaned currently and then I plan on donning the swimsuit I fought hard for and headed to the Y! yay!

Be Funny Friday- The Natural Hair Edition


I am so excited to announce that Family and Life in Las Vegas has teamed up withCrazy About My Baybah to create our own Friday Follow!! We have loved linking up to other Friday Follows so much, we decided to create our own. We are calling it Bee Funny Friday Follow, because being funny is what it is all about!! Basically in addition to posting the Bee Funny Friday Badge, we ask that you also post pictures and/or stories about something funny that happened during the week. Something fun to get the weekend started.
Here are a few simple guidelines we would like you to follow:
1. Add a main link to your blog weekly.2. Follow the hosting blogs in the # 1 and # 2 spots.
3. Post pictures and/or stories on your blog about something funny that happened during the week.
4. Put our Bee Funny button in your post to share the fun.
5. Visit as many blogs as you can, and let them know that you are there from Bee Funny Friday Follow. Follow the ones you like, and we are sure you will get follows back.
6. But most of all, Bee Funny! Because Beeing Funny is what it is all about!

Bee Funny is open to family friendly sites ONLY, all others will be deleted.



Bee Funny!


My hair has been looking a little...odd lately. I don't know if it is the heat, or the constant switch up in conditioners this week, but the look took me straight back into the 1980's. During fancy occasions, like Bands in Review (where we played our recorders!) my mom would gather my jheri curl (don't ask) in a banana clip to match my outfit. 

My friends would oooh and ahhh. I would preen. Now I look back and think.. what the hell?

Anyway my hair has been looking how it looked in the banana clip.. WITHOUT THE BANANA CLIP!  i don't know what is going on but it needs to be fixed. I hope to band it some time this weekend.

Swimsuit Scandal 2010

In my last post I mentioned that it was the first time in several years that I have purchased a swimsuit. What I forgot to mention is that I have TERRIBLE luck with swim suits. The last swimsuit I purchased fell off in the ocean in front of a friend and her boyfriend. So yeah, not the greatest luck with swimsuits.

I should have known last nights bargain was too good to be true.

You see, I didn't try the suit on in the store. It was the hottest day of the year in Indiana. I was just trying to find something and go home and be with my dogs. I nabbed the first one I could find in my size, did the peanut butter and Jelly time dance and ran to go pay.

later on that evening I pulled it out to look at it again. I took a closer look.

I had bought a swimsuit..TOP.
No bottoms. Nothing

I was trying to go to Y yesterday evening. Can't really go swimming without bottoms. Unless I want to scandalize some people.. and possibly anger my husband.

So today I went back to fashion bug in search for bottoms.

They sold their last two pair of bottoms this morning.. and they were a size 8 and a size 6. Even if I knew how to sew well (which I don't) and sewed those together, It might cover a THIGH. ugh. I had to drive to Castleton to find the hubs some swim trunks (we are both plus sized.. so this crap is a chore) and I knew that Avenue was on the way there, so I figured I would check them out.

I found a swimsuit....for 30 dollars. Sadly enough, that is with 50 percent off. *sigh* I then proceded to find my husband some swim trunks...

Editors note: If Plus size male fashion would mainstream like plus size women fashion has, they could make a KILLING. I seriously over paid for swimtrunks. Cute or not. Bastards.

So here we go again.

Swimsuit shopping and Banding

I am going to be honest with you. I haven't owned a swimsuit in possibly 5-6 years. Why? I'm fat, I live in the Midwest, and.. well, that's about all. When it gets hot, I don't go to the pool to cool down. I sit in the house. In the blessed air conditioning. With my dogs.

Things have to change though.

You see, I have always been an active person. Whether it be shopping, working, and cooking, I was always doing SOMETHING.

That has come to an end here recently. I've gotten so big that it has sapped my energy. It hurts to even move. I can't shop because within 30 minutes, my back aches like I just walked 20 blocks.

Things have to change.

Today my husband and I joined the YMCA. I am going to start out swimming. When I have lost enough weight I will work on the machines. I want to be fit and able. I want to be able to have kids. When I do have kids, I don't want to be the bump on the log that parks them in front of the TV.

Things are going to change.

So, with the whole swimming gig, that means I need a swimsuit. It is incredibly late in the summer apparently to be swimsuit hunting. I first started at Wal-Mart.

...I know... I KNOW! But I was there... and it was a good thing I was there too.

There was a teenage plus size girl crying with her mom.
Apparently the girl was upset that the only thing available at Wally world was bikinis. She was feeling fat and unloved. (haven't we all felt this way?) She tugged at my heart strings. I did the only thing I could do in a situation like that; I spoke to her.

"Uh.. excuse me?"
the girl looked up at me mortified. "My name is Leslie..uh... I couldn't help but overhear you having issues with the swimsuits. I'm plus sized too...but, you are smaller than me, and I know for a fact they have a couple of great swimsuits here in your size that will not show a whole lot of skin." I pulled two random pieces from the rack. One was a skirted piece and the other was a halter piece that came to the edge of the skirt. Her mom thanked me and she ran off to the dressing room. There wasn't much there for me (very slim pickings) so I left and went to Fashion Bug.

People, before I continue further, I need to let you know that it is the hottest day of the year. I don't sweat and I AM SWEATING. The walk from Walmart to my car culminated into me being a big hot sweaty fat girl. Don't you just LOVE that visual.

I get to Fashion Bug and walk in. Fat, blobby, sweaty and ugh. The sales lady was nice to me either way. I explained I needed a swimsuit and she frowned.
"We don't have many left, but I will show you what we got." She leads me to a rack of swimsuits and I begin digging. LO AND BEHOLD!  I spy a gem of a swimsuit. In my size! that looks decent! OMG!!!! I go up to pay.. AND IT IS EVEN FURTHER ON CLEARANCE!!!  This damn swimsuit is like 10 bucks. I must stop this story.. and do the robot.

*does the robot*

I am ready YMCA. Bring it ONNNN!!!!!

In natural hair news, today I have decided I am going to band my hair.  I will take before, during and after photos of the whole thing. I am excited.

Today's hair outlook is kind of bleak. I conditioned and moisturized my hair within an inch of its life. I don't know if it is the heat or what, my hair feels horrible. It feels like straw.

I went today to purchase bands and a wide tooth comb so that I can comb the conditioner through my hair when I am deep conditioning tonight. While I was at the store, I came across a darling hair accessory. It is a pink flower with a crystal gem on it. It has three small plumes of feathers on it. I have a wedding to go to this month and have been looking for something like this. YAY!!! It was really inexpensive too. It was 1.99 I will take a picture for my banding entry and put it up there.

Now I need to go read about all the fun stuff the Y offers. I want to get strong enough to take a Zumba class!

Lady Writer

Alas, pretty much the only thing I’ve been productive about lately is my writing. Even that is an ehhhhh. Because I hate writing about myself, I’ve tried to keep posting something here at least once a week. Hence the ehhhhh. It’s hard when you haven’t really done anything new but be a new and present lump in the great state of Nevada. This is not the exciting and shocking stuff that dreams and stars are made of, not that I do anything really shocking…..ever. Shocking for me was trying Boca meatless crumbles a couples weeks ago, which are rather tasty. Again, ehhhh.

There has definitely been some writing. Along with this blog I’ve been working on my film review blog. That still has yet to be a force to be reckoned with, but it’s getting there. Some novel ideas have popped in my head that I’m looking at pursuing. I have an idea about a romantic comedy about a Jane Austen fanatic who meets someone a little out of this world. This probably sounds crazy, and I agree. I have to remain cryptic to a point. I don’t want to ruin the whole story before I’m done with it. There is a real following for these kinds of books for Jane Austen fanatics. I should know, because being a fanatic myself, I own quite a few of them. It just kind of popped out. Did I forget to mention that it is still strictly an idea? Hehehe, I’m a slacker.

I’ve also been thinking about starting some children’s book. This is mostly due to my want to give Kellan special stories. What better gift for me to give to the little stinker than my love for imagination. I have been toying with an idea featuring a cat and the shenanigans that it will get into. Recently I wrote a little story for him to help him understand about his Dad being gone on deployments. That one is kind of special right now. I’m trying to join forces with an artist to illustrate this and make something fantastic for my brother’s family.

This is random, but too funny to share. As I’m writing this, Kellan was given some of the macaroni and tomato I made. Not only did he find it yummy, he discovered the prospective skin care attributes of it. I kept hearing squishy noises coming from him, and I looked over to find him moisturizing. This is the typical mischief that I get to witness on the daily basis, a large plus of my moving out here.

Until next time….

The Accidental Husband

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Director: Griffin Dunne

Screenplay: Mimi Hare, Clare Naylor, Bonnie Sikowitz

Starring: Uma Thurman, Colin Firth, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Dr. Emma Lloyd is a popular and well-respected love guru with her own radio talk show. For Patrick Sullivan, she is the woman that ruined his life after she gave advice to his fiancé to call off the wedding. Knowing that the good doctor herself will be getting hitched soon, Patrick decides to get a little payback by hacking into state records and making her married to him. The comedy proceeds as Emma tries to sort out the mistake and still keep her wedding together. The marriage mistake seems to take a backseat to her new problem, her growing attraction to Patrick. Who will she choose?

I personally purchased this, because I had yet to see it and enjoy Colin Firth. Now I wish my logic of not buying it at full price won out my carefree whim. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible. This is a standard chick flick. It’s so standard that I’m a little surprised that it was not an original Lifetime movie, yet I still would have seen it, if it was. The story follows the basic which guy does the girl choose plot line, and it remains pretty basic. If your significant other is usually opposed to these films, be kind and do not force him to watch this. There are plenty of other rom coms out there that will make everyone laugh even without admitting it. This is not one. Watch it yourself or with a few friends who enjoy the same type of movie.

I can only sum up this movie as cute and entertaining. If you’re bored, go ahead. If you like the actors, okay, try it. I warn you, though each of these actors has shown great talent in other films, this is not one, and I don’t entirely blame the actors for that. I felt the writing was not compelling enough to offer them a chance to expand the characters any more than they did in the film. I also certainly do not recommend purchasing this film like I did, unless you find it on a bargain rack. Do not dive off the regular price cliff that I found myself doing.

I give this film 2 ½ Buttery Kernels.

Coming Soon: Across the Universe