I’m 56. Wait! What?

Recently I had an opportunity to travel to an in-state college to recruit for my job. I made the two and a half hour trek south of 65 and 85 to parts I rarely venture (as I am an avid University of Alabama fan/grad), and braved the athletic enemy’s territory for the sake of my calling. I arrived early, not aware of how traffic would be, and was able to sit in my car for a spell to check email and listen to some of the finest hip-hop the Columbus, GA neighboring station could provide.

At 4:30, the expected time for vendor arrivals, I unloaded my car, looked back at my University of Alabama alumni tag, as if I were about to cheat on it, and strolled into the orange and blue haven. (Side note: I must admit, the campus and building were beautiful, as they were the last time I visited. The BIG picture of Cam didn’t hurt either.) I registered at the table stocked with hospitable, smiling faces. I reluctantly fought back the urge to take a selfie in front of the orange and blue all around attaching to it something about the reigning National Champions. I received my packet of welcome info, including the number I was assigned to set up for the Career Fair. There were 59 assigned tables. I was number 56.

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Upon site of 56 just above the 59 my first thought was, “Wait! What? I don’t want to be 56!” I immediately thought I would be WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY across the arena in the forgotten section unvisited by eager students ready for life after college and truly ready for the barbecue after this college fair. I just knew my slot was one destined to a big, ol’ hunk of nothing. I was prepared to fight through full-blown sourpuss mode the entire four hours I was scheduled to be there.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, right after the fresh-faced student walked me into the arena the fourth table from the door had my name on it…well, not my name, but my number. Not only was table number 56 right at the door used for everyone to enter, I was smack dab in front of the double-lined buffet of hot, smoky barbecue chicken and tender, sliced turkey, green beans, tossed salad, sweet tea, chocolate cookies and the famous cheddar biscuits which put Jim-n-Nicks on the map, at least in my mouth.

When I received my assigned 56 out of the 59 I completely counted myself and my number out. Then boom, with a just few simple steps forward I was like the 2015 National Champions. I was #winning!

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The moral of this story is: I/we win REGARDLESS. We just have to keep stepping.

@AngelaMMoore316

I’d Like to Thank Nick Saban and My Bama Boys

I woke up this morning with just three and a half hours of sleep under my belt, a sore throat, squinting eyes gazing social media and a smile on my face. I felt like I was preparing to stand at the stage of some big acceptance speech as I proudly picked out my houndstooth shirt, red big pearls and leggings for work pondering back and forward between the silver zipper leggings or the front-panel pleather ones. So if I were giving my victory speech here’s what I’d say.

I’d like to thank Nick Saban and the Bama boys for their sacrifice of sleep and social lives normal to most college students (especially if you were on the five-year UA plan like I was). I’d like to thank Nick Saban and the Bama boys for never giving up, even when I almost did around 10pm when I thought it would be better just to go to bed and wake up to whatever outcome and trash talking we were dealt after having been down for a while in the game. I’d like to thank Nick Saban and the Bama boys for displaying such discipline, heart, stellar sportsmanship and ferociousness all in one. I’d like to thank Nick Saban and the Bama boys for giving our school, our state and people from all walks of life a reason to come together each season with a commonality uncommon to most. Lastly, I’d like to thank Nick Saban and my Bama boys for being an undeniable part of my life granting such great memories and so much joy each August through January… never disappointing me regardless of the outcome.

Happy Sweet 16 team! Roll Tide Roll! #youdidthat

@AngelaMMoore316

Roll Tide, People!

Today’s #bloglikecrazy post should be about pies, but it’s not. Today is a National Holiday in Alabama, and technically I’m taking the (blogging) day off. It’s the Iron Bowl, people, so today is all about the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. Enjoy!

 
  

  
  
  
  
  

  

@AngelaMMoore316

Crape Myrtle Cafe is Still Hot and Happening

There’s a hidden jewel tucked inside of Homewood’s Little Professor Book Center that’s serving up food so fresh, tasty, and made with love it evokes the memories of food your grandmother used to make, especially if she was a five-star cook who could whip up anything from Apple Smoked Pork Loin to a Kobe Beef Burger cooked perfectly to a Grilled Salmon Sandwich with dill and lemon, and a side of crispy chips which will make your mouth dance. Crape Myrtle Café is its name and that’s a name you should certainly remember. I’d not been there in years until recently, but was not surprised to see the inviting menu, stellar service and quietly, entertaining atmosphere nestled among a book store was just as lovely as I had remembered. Many come for the books and come back for the food. Books and food. What can be better than that?

On a recent visit with a business colleague, and in the mood for soul food, I listened to the sage wisdom of the gentleman at the register and ordered the Beef Tips Over Rice. Knowing I was headed home for the day and in no threat of the “itis” ruining my vibe I also ordered fork tender collards, and black eyed peas so scrumptious they would have made Alberta Scott (my paternal grandmother) spin around in her powder blue Lazy Boy…God rest her soul. My associate ordered the Wagyu Hamburger Steak, with gravy and onions sans the onions, fluffy mashed potatoes ladled with gravy and greens. We both devoured a cornbread muffin about as buttery, sweet and moist as restaurant-made muffins can be.

The meal was perfect, and surely didn’t disappoint from this treasure I’ve been enjoying for more than a decade. It was so tasty I didn’t even stop through the bookstore to sneak a peek at the latest in literary offerings. That hardly ever happens. I was so completely satisfied by my savory, mid-day experience. The only thing which would have made my visit to Crape Myrtle Café any better would have been had I known in advance that my dining companion was paying for the meal and would have ordered their Carmel Fudge Pecan Pie to take home. Drats! Oh well. There’s always next time.

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@AngelaMMoore316

It’s a Most Wonderful Time of the Year

With just six short minutes before the opening shot of the first broadcast of ESPN’s College Game Day I’m up like a child anticipating the first day of school to show off her new pair of Duck Heads, Sebago’s, Neon Bracelets and Member’s Only jacket. I’m up, having already prepped my Rotel dip. I’m up, having already planned my grocery list. I’m up because I’m excited about the return of college football, especially the world-renown University of Alabama Crimson Tide. #RollTide

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Hold up, wait a minute. The show’s about to come on. I’m starting to feel all giggly on the outside and tingly on the inside. Yay! They just showed the Crimson Tide! Oh, look, there’s Desmond Howard. He looks so cute in blue! Welcome to the team Rece Davis. People, please bear with me for a moment of silence in honor of the start of 14 weeks of Saturdays in the south, and beyond…

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Whew! I’m back. Okay. Today is such a special day. For me it marks the return of fall and all the festive-ness it has to offer. It marks the return of waving and winking to virtual strangers in the grocery store, while pumping gas, or while walking to your car from church. It marks a time when men and women, boys and girls, red, yellow, black, brown, white and all the beautiful colors of the human rainbow find commonality in a time when commonality is certainly needed. It marks a time of firing up a grill or rolling out a cooler on the Quad, and reminiscing with old friends about college days, and the mayhem that ensued. It marks a time for me of Thursdays and Fridays turning into menu and wardrobe planning in my mind and Mondays into healthy trash talking from whomever lost to whomever won. It marks a time where, fall shows us the beauty of change and harvest, and winter shows us the beauty of letting dying things go so we can be ushered into the season of rebirth and abundance. Today marks the advent of the return of college football (and all that comes along with it) and for so many and me that’s a most wonderful time of the year.

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Let’s the games begin! #RollTideRoll

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@AngelaMMoore316

You Can Take the Girl Outta the Hood….

There’s a popular saying that was really popular in my life growing up. “You can take the man/woman/boy/girl outta the ‘hood, but you can’t take the ‘hood outta the man/woman/boy/girl,” was something often said in various forms depending on the geographical location of the man/woman/boy/girl being discussed. So ‘hood, as in neighborhood could be easily substituted with words like the country, the ghetto, the projects (of which my daddy was particularly proud), Alabama, the Gump (as in Montgomery, my place of birth) and so on and so on.

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While designing my meme anticipating the upcoming Straight Outta Compton Movie and proudly blasting the West on my chest (as in West End, as in West End Manor, as in #35211), I thought about the fact that I’m glad the ‘hood remains in me. Now, don’t get me wrong. My “hoodocity” pales in comparison to some, probably most, as I’ve always been a bit genteel, and sure, it has been buffed, polished and shined up like an Italian leather Easter shoe, but believe me, it’s still there. And I’m proud. My ‘hood has helped me so much. It’s helped shape a little girl into a culturally rich, people sensitive, genuinely caring, grown woman.

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Nowhere else can you learn creativity and ingenuity like the ‘hood where you took a cardboard box and made a full-fledged dance floor, or turn Jolly Rancher and pickle selling into a thriving business. Where else can games like Four Square, Double Dutch, Hide and Go Seek, Dodge Ball, Old Mary Mack, Red Light/Green Light and Hands Up for 85 give you eight full hours of absolutely free fun, and teach you the art of improvising, teamwork and how to refresh yourself from a water hose? Where else can you have your summertime hair stylist live right across the street and she hook you up with braids and beads so colorful and plentiful that they would have made Bo Derek jealous? (Shout out to Carol!) Only the hood could provide the luxury of a wintertime, springtime, and falltime hair stylists who lived two blocks over and had burnt fried bologna, homemade biscuits and Alaga Syrup waiting for you when you walked to her house ALONE as a six or seven year old with $5 in hand to pay her to press the mess out of your hair with Queen Helen or Royal Crown Hair Dressing. (Thank you Mrs. Feagins.) The ‘hood taught me my signature picture pose and how to do it in a way that was real sassy, but still classy. (Take a look at any of the many hundreds of pictures I take today and that “hand on the right hip, head slightly tilted, smile straight at the camera” pose remains the same. As it shall. #35211ForLife) The ‘hood taught me event planning the time my Mom and her friends shut down our entire street, with permission from the city, to host a block party that rivaled one from NYC. Nowhere but the ‘hood would have an unofficial, organized “hospitality committee” comprised of the most loving and caring neighbors who would canvas the street day or night, going from house-to-house to take up donations of funds or food if anything happened to one of their own, or would call for prayer in time of tragedy (Kudos to the 19th Street caring crew like my Mom, Mrs. Mary, Mrs. Long and the rest.) My ‘hood also had loving fathers like my own and so many who wouldn’t mind breaking up a street fight (Gasp! Yes, we did have those) then calling us all to the front porch to break down some common sense (or break out a belt), reminding us, especially the young men who might have been involved of how loved and valuable we were.

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My ‘hood taught me about love, respect, courage, confidence, support to and from others, community, fun (for free) and so much more. None of that do I wish to depart. So yes, the saying is true. You can take the girl outta the hood, but you can’t (and shan’t) take the hood outta the girl, at least not this one.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Whistle. Whistle. Tweet. Tweet.

You know you have flourishing self-esteem when you whisk your head around to say “thank you” after hearing what you think are whistles only to find out it’s actually real, live birds just doing their job of tweeting in trees. (I promise you, those birds sounded so “fake”. I just knew they were humans…LOL!) Not to be one easily swayed by the whistle, hiss the, occasional “Hey Girl” or my all-time favorite from the University of Alabama Quad…”Hey, Ms. Lady”, I did want to be polite to whomever I thought was using that age-old method of complimenting and at least wanted to smile in my best southern way and say “thanks”.

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I laughed, really hard at myself after this experience. I laughed even harder when I shared this with a friend who almost choked laughing then begged me not to repeat this story. Of course I did choose to repeat it, hence the purpose of this post. There was a time when I would never have assumed a whistle was coming my way. Now, let me be honest and clear, those times were rare, as my parents did an excellent job of instilling in us to the best of their ability as we received it the importance of healthy self-esteem. However, bouts with life sometimes deal a tough blow which can taint even the most perfect balance of esteem and humility.

There have been times when I would have kept on walking either with my head down (not in a good way) or my head up (in an even worse way) after hearing the fake, yet really real whistles because I thought I was too tall, too thin, too big, not dressed my best, or even too good to be admired by the type of person who has the audacity to whistle from a street (those were the days when the “stay humble” struggle was real for your girl). So as I hopped down 3rd Avenue North in Birmingham, Alabama in my Old Navy deal of the week with an orthopedic boot on my foot and wind-blown hair that had to be rewashed later that day because I failed to condition it and it showed, nothing in me said that for whom the whistle whistled wasn’t me. I knew it was.

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So many times we let life tell us who we are, how we are and what should be expected. I expected the whistles to be from an admirer because that’s what I expected. Simple and plain. I dare you to expect. Expect the best. Expect to be admired. Expect to be appreciated. Expect to be valued. Expect to be recognized, all in the purest place of humility, of course. Expecting is scary sometimes. I know. It’s disappointing sometimes too. I’d even go so far as to say that expecting is risky. but I know the other side of the flipping coin and let me tell you, having expectation is better than having none at all.  In my mind, the fact that God saw fit to even let the birds of they were tweeting) is just the icing on the cake, cherry on top, food for fodder, a post to post about and laughter for days. carl

@AngelaMMoore316

I Managed to Do Nothing (and Survived)

It’s official, two weeks/weekends in a row I managed to do nothing (and survived). Shocking, I know! Taking orders from a little wobble in some sunglasses that left me with a sprained foot and three torn ligaments I missed my godson’s special birthday celebration, passed on dinner gatherings, skipped my favorite school’s A-Day (Roll Tide Roll!), cancelled two upcoming conferences one of which was all the way in Connecticut, went two weeks without grocery shopping, am still hanging on to my Easter nail polish and the list goes on. I accomplished this champion feat because of my foot and much to my chagrin, because being still is often something with which I struggle.

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Some people have a problem getting going. I have a problem not going. Don’t believe me? Just read my blog post You Do a Lot on why I am how I am. So when blindsided by this latest little speed bump I decided to be proactive about being inactive. In that time of stillness I slept and rested (there is a difference). I caught up on reality television (seven episodes of Carnival Eats in one day alone). I chatted with family and friends. I shopped online. I updated blogs. I wrote and organized. I planned for some upcoming plans. I realized I need to give away some shoes. I started a 30-day Bible devotional and I slowed down enough to actually enjoy my house on some beautiful, rainy days.

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The older I get the more amazed I am at the big messages which often come from the little lessons in life. This is not my first ride in the “slow down” rodeo. I’m well-aware that rest must have been needed. I’m even more aware that I would not have voluntarily slowed my roll. I’m even, even more aware that GREAT things usually come after these little uninvited times of respite. So I’ll rest…and get ready.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Wanna See Something New? Say Something Old.

Both of my schools are in the news for two different reasons. It’s certainly bittersweet and a contradiction of the two roads of life.

The University of Alabama has embarked on a great, historical landmark with the election of the first African-American Student Government Association President in 40 years. Way to go Elliot Spillers! I know Elliot personally and admire him for so many reasons. One of which is the fact that he is vested in the undeniable process of investing in the lives of others AND purposely surrounding himself with people who can help shape, mold, groom and grow him to the greatness that obviously is within. He gets it because he allows others to give it so he can give it.

On the other side of that proverbial coin, Birmingham’s Ramsay High School made unfortunate headlines after four students were arrested for a mid-day house break-in. For decades, Ramsay has been the pinnacle of academia in the Birmingham area. Known for bringing the best and brightest from neighborhoods far and near to the beautiful campus nestled near Red Mountain, like many Birmingham City Schools, the school I love and hold dear to this day has been a great launching pad for thousands of students and me.

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The initial outcry after the arrests mostly heard from the Ramsay graduates and supporters I follow was that of shock, anger, embarrassment and disbelief that our legacy could be threatened by the careless actions of some who do not understand the nature of who we have long-sense prided ourselves on being. The comments from some of the people who have time to spew racism, ignorance and hate on posts like al.com are nothing short of venom-come-to-life. I digress…Whether the actions of those four students who had bright futures ahead is what is expected of Ramsay (or any school’s) students or not, clearly something socially and morally is missing that these and many children need.

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In the midst of prepping for my Wednesday night Empire ritual I started thinking. I started reflecting back on my high school and college days and some of the tomfoolery my friends and I found ourselves in. I made a mistake or two or ten in high school and college that I’m not proud of, but thankfully lived through, with no other purpose than to make sure someone else doesn’t do the same. None of my friends or people I thought were friends broke into a home to my knowledge, but to be completely honest and transparent, many of us (yes, I said us as I am certainly included) did things that could have made the top of the headlines or blown up social media had it existed way back then. Gasp! I prefer sipping tea over spilling it, so I won’t tell the bees-wax of anyone other than me, but I wonder what tragic, unfortunate, “wrong place at the wrong time” things could have happened to me when my friends and I skipped school, or went to a neighborhood with purple and gold donning, high school fraternity boys we had no business knowing then a mini-tornado broke out. I wonder what would have happened that time we piled into a Ford Escort with the friend of our friend named Duchess and drove all the way to Tuskegee in the middle of the week to go to a party where the floor literally fell in and the driver fell asleep en route back to Tuscaloosa. I wonder. I wonder. I wonder. While I thankfully will never know what bad could have been back then, I do know what to do now. I believe we all have a little bit of what the youth of today need. It’s up to us to pull from our bag of testimonies (even those humbling ones), know what we have to offer, be bold enough to share it, share it (whether we feel it’s effective now or not) and not stop if we really care about those who need us to care about them.

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The moral of this story: I’m proud of Elliot Spillers and hope that many more stories of this kind become the norm rather than exception. I believe it will. And yes, I’m disappointed by the Ramsay students not knowing or caring to accept the reality of the consequences of their poor actions and accept personal accountability. But let’s be real, people. We’ve all done things without entertaining the aftermath. Now is a GOOD time to get up off of those life’s lessons, mentor these students, hang out with them, hear their points of view so we can know what to do and spill our beans so we can save some lives. No longer is our real, true story good enough to sit on the shelf like a dusty book no one wants to read. It’s time to pull it down, brush it off, open up those tattered pages, unfold those stories from the beginning to that messy middle and the “thank God I made it” end and be real enough to help someone avoid the paths we overcame only by the grace of God. Our impact can mean the difference in the headlines and their lives. #RollTide #IBleedBlue

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@AngelaMMoore316